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E. R. 


When the reader gets past its brief initial chapter, 
this book will be found to be neither a Guide to the 
Lakes nor an analysis of Wordsworth's Complete 
Works, but a series of suggestions about a Poet's 
mind in relation to the country in which he dwelt. 
The starting-point of the study is William Words- 
worth's renouncement of Ingle wood Forest and its 

As these essays were composed by the author 
primarily for his own education and for the pleasure 
of receiving direct impressions, he has avoided, while 
pursuing his quest, every book on his subject published 
within the last fifty years. Even the alluring treatise 
by M. Emile Legouis, La Jeunesse de William 
Wordsworth^ has been put aside as a pleasure in 
store. Indebtedness to old writers and to the living 
who have helped in this exploration of local material 
and tradition is recorded, all too imperfectly, in the 

Mr. Thomas Hutchinson has edited for the 

Oxford University Press a complete one-volume 

collection of Wordsworth's Poems which may be 



bought for a florin. With this at hand, a student 
would find it easy to trace and check the argument 
of the following pages. The Oxford edition of 
the Poems forms the basis of the Concordance to 
" Wordsworthshire " now provided, but this Con- 
cordance is designed to be almost equally useful 
in connexion with editions such as those of Professor 
Knight and Professor Dowden. 

Should anything in chapter sixth move some 
person of heart and means to come forward and 
help to rehabilitate the famous Grammar School at 
Hawkshead on a plan consonant with Wordsworth's 
expressed ideas, and free from bureaucratic surveil- 
lance, the author would rejoice. There is surely 
room in England for one school conducted on the 
natural lines which helped Wordsworth and retained 
that poet's life-long admiration. 

Shuter's portrait of Wordsworth was painted in 
the year when Lyrical Ballads appeared. Messrs. 
George of Bristol publish a photogravure of this 
picture; and for their courtesy in permitting a 
reduction from this plate to form our frontispiece, 
thanks are hereby tendered. 

The Vicarage, St. John's, 



I. The Makers of Inglewood Forest 1 

II. Penrith, the Capital of the Forest 9 

III. Cockermouth, on the Edge of the Forest 19 

IV. Penrith Beacon, Sentinel of the Forest 38 

V. Brougham Castle, Citadel of the Forest 53 

VI. Hawkshead, in Furness 62 


VIII. Hawkshead : the Schoolboy 86 

IX. Hawkshead : School Friends 101 

X. Hawkshead : Schoolmasters and other Teachers 107 

XI. Cambridge: University Vacations 135 

XII. Wordsworth's first Rendering of Lakeland 

Scenery 157 

XIII. Windy Brow 171 

XIV. With Coleridge 183 
XV. The Dalesmen 188 

XVI. The Dales 216 

XVII. Wordsworth as Interpreter 236 

XVIII. Dorothy Wordsworth's Prose Poems 249 

XIX. What did Grasmere teach Wordsworth ? 279 

XX. The Child is Father of the Man 289 

Appendix — 

I. Works chiefly Consulted 316 

II. Notes 318 

III. Concordance to Wordsworthshire 340 

Index 349 

ix b 


William Wordsworth, from Shuter's Painting, 1798 Frontispiece 
Skiddaw and Blencathara, seen from side of Penrith 

Beacon t _? 

1 o face page 4 

Mayborough, Penrith q 

Yanwath Hall, Penrith, and Penrith Beacon 12 

Penrith Churchyard jg 

Wordsworth's Birthplace, Cockermouth 18 


The Moot Hall, Cockermouth (pulled down in 1826) 24 
The Derwent, seen from John Wordsworth's Terrace, 

Cockermouth 28 


Cockermouth « 2 

Whitehaven Pier and St. Bees Head, from Moresby 36 

Old House, Penrith 3g 

The Vale of Keswick 50 

Threlkeld Hall and Blencathara 52 

Brougham Castle 54 

Iawkshead q. 

schoolroom, Hawkshead g 8 

Uyrigg, Windermere n Q 




)ld Packhorse Road from Whitehaven to Hawkshead g6 

oad from Cockermouth to Hawkshead by Skelwith ib. 

he Meeting of the Ways (Map) 08 

Irs. Hodgson's Cottage, Hawkshead 102 

sthwaite Lake 104 



Peele Castle, near Rampside, Lancashire To face page 106 

Cottages, High Hawkshead 110 

Cartmel Priory 126 

Flag Street, Hawkshead 134 

Anne Tyson's Cottage, Hawkshead 140 

Mountains of Lakeland, seen from Brougham Castle 156 

Islands of Windermere 162 

Ulverston Sands 178 

A "Statesman's" Home, Winster 190 

Church of Bowness-on-Windermere in 1806 198 

A Symbolic Diagram 217 

Grasmere 218 

Dales (Map) 220 

Lakes (Map) ib. 

Red Tarn, Helvellyn 226 

Kirkstone Pass 248 

Dove Cottage, Grasmere 252 

Helm Crag, Grasmere 264 

Rydal Water 266 

Green-Head Ghyll 268 

Gowbarrow, Ullswater ib. 

Dungeon Ghyll, Langdale 272 

Airey Force, Ullswater 288 

Blea Tarn Farm 290 

Grasmere Church 292 

Allan Bank 300 

Rydal Mount 304 





To understand William Wordsworth, we must 
understand Inglewood Forest, that haunt of rough 
romance in which the poet dreamed, not too joy- 
ously, as a Penrith schoolboy, and in which, later, 
he gave ear to the sigh of history, even while he 
was winning the love of Mary Hutchinson. 

Inglewood Forest, as it first looms into our ken, 
is a tract of country reaching along the lower side 
of an imaginary line drawn from the Irish Sea at 
Solway to the German Ocean at Tynemouth, a belt 
of a breadth represented by the distance between 
Carlisle and Appleby ; a belt, as regards population, 
ragged and thin at its ends, but closer in texture about 
the middle — that is to say, all round Penrith. 

Of the Celts who came hither in two waves, the 
first to appear were speakers of Erse or of Gaelic, 
members of a race that had drifted from Ireland by 
way of Scotland and Mona, avoiders of valleys, seekers 
of the high fell-sides. Their area began with Carrock, 
terminated at Culgaith ("the End of the Garden "), 
and had Blencow ("the War Tongue") as one of its 
least elevated yet most important settlements. This 


camp lay like an outstretched tongue in the bend of 
a river — the Petteril. From these Hiberno-Celts we 
have the foundation of Carlisle, Blencairn, Cargo, 
Cardurnock, Lamplugh, Dundraw, Gilcrux, Gilgarron, 
and designations of geographical features such as 
Glencoin, Glenridding, Glenderamakin. 

The Celts from Cambria, entering of course from 
the south, formed the second wave of historic life in 
these parts. One of their settlements encompassed 
what was later called Old Penrith (Plumpton Wall), 
and stretched south to the foot of Ullswater and 
north-west to Little Penrith (Penruddock). The 
Cambrian colonists bequeath to us names such as 
Cumrew, Cumbria, Helvellyn. 

The northern and the southern Celts fought at 
Barco Hill for dominance of race, and the Cambrians 
won that necessary mastery. Barco Hill lies at the 
east root of the Penrith Beacon. 

When the Romans pushed upward from London 
in the direction of Scotland, they erected a strong 
fort at Old Penrith, between the conqueror Celts and 
the conquered Celts. The fort was built beside a 
stream separating these kindred peoples. The Cam- 
bro-Celts thought of the fort as " Pedrogyl " (" the 
Quadrangle ") ; hence the river still bears their de- 
signation : it is the Petteril, dear to anglers. The 
Hiberno-Celts named the fort " the Square of the 
River " (Ceathair Leana) : hence, the present village 
of Catterlen. The mountain 111 Bell (" the Beltain 
Top ") was probably used for fire worship by these 
northern Celts. 

In Westmorland and Cumberland the Romans 
have left us the remains of many camps and several 



highways. One great road they struck from York to 
Old Carlisle, by way of Kirkby Thore (Brovonacae) 
and Brougham (Brovacum). There was another road 
from Kirkby Lonsdale to Kirkby Thore by Sedbergh 
and Shap. The Maiden Way formed a continuation 
of this thoroughfare, extending past Kirkland and 
Alston Moor to the Roman Wall of Hadrian at 
Caervoran, and still another well-paved line of march 
led from Ambleside, through Troutbeck and over 
High Street, to Ullswater and Greystoke and Old 

When the Romans disappeared, and the Teutons 
arrived, first to harry and then to settle, the Angles 
bestowed on Cumbria (part of Westmorland was 
included) the name of Angle Wood — Inglewood 
Forest. This land that they claimed was a cold and 
watery desert. When crops were sown here they 
ripened poorly : the rivers flowed from morass to 
morass, clogged with rotting trees, while everywhere 
mist and rain prevailed above grey leagues of 
scrubby timber. The downs and still higher stretches 
were alone habitable ; therefore these healthier and 
safer regions had to be fought for inch by inch, and 
a great many of the loftiest peaks still bear titles 
that sounded primeval even to the ears of the Celts 
who fled from stronger invaders to the last resort 
of wind-swept caves. 

Long ere Angles or Saxons moved across the 
scene, Christianity had found it out, for St. Ninian 
of Scotland preached by the river Eamont in the 
end of the fourth century. The structure called 
Nine Churches, built by the Countess of Pembroke 
in a Tudor age, marks the site of the wattled chapel 



that rose where Ninian planted his episcopal cross. 
No sanctuary in the land is older, except, perhaps, 
St. Martin's Church at Canterbury, or part of 
Glastonbury's foundation. " Worshipping there, 
St. Augustine would have found himself among 
people who knew and loved the Gospel which he 
taught." It is this heritage of Christian teaching, 
supplied by wistful saints from Scotland long before 
Gregory was a Pope or Augustine a missionary, that 
has happily stamped a character on the churches 
and priests of the north of England wholly in- 
effaceable. There is a northern via media as old 
as the fourth century. 

New Penrith, the present town, was established 
before the Angles came into Cumbria. Legend con- 
nects Penrith and its outskirts with King Arthur 
and his knights. Even the glorious Round Table of 
Arthur is identified by some serious antiquaries with 
the circular earthwork, called by that name, which lies 
half a mile to the south of the town. In his Bridal 
of Triermain and in other works, Sir Walter Scott 
accepts the local Arthurian tradition. 

It was natural for the Angles, when they made 
their way into Cumbria from Northumbria, to follow 
closely the Roman plans of settlement. During two 
or three centuries they persevered successfully in the 
domination of the Great Forest, and their towns are 
still marked out for us by the ending of "ton." 
They founded, for instance, Dalston, Plumpton, 
Alston, Stainton, Helton, Barton, Bampton, Dufton, 
Murton. As one looks at the Ordnance map and 
notes the names of uplands on the north-eastern 
border of the present Cumberland, one can almost 



j 6 

Q .2 

C/J — ■ 

* . .^iaS 



see and hear the hordes of Angles descending tumul- 
tuously through the Northumbrian passes. 

The Angles and Saxons were in turn overthrown 
or assimilated by the Danes, who moved upwards to- 
wards Inglewood after Alfred's victory of Ashdown. 
The Danes by their place-names have testified that 
they were not afraid to colonise on the lower slopes 
or in the valley-deeps. The farm in the foreground 
of our picture of Penrith is called The Scaws ("The 
Wood "), and occupies a Danish site. Dockray — a 
part of Penrith — is so named from the Danish for 
" Dark Glade." Scumscaw, a part of Penrith that 
belonged to Wordsworth's grandfather Cookson, and 
still remains the property of his descendants, was 
" Dusky Wood." By themselves such epithets tell of 
the pioneer work the Danes were doing in the lowest 
expanses of the ancient wilderness. The giant 
tombstones in Penrith churchyard are by some 
attributed to this Danish period. Ulfby, Melmerby, 
and Thorkilby were built by three sons of a conquer- 
ing Dane. The Danish-Norwegian invaders used 
"thwaite" as a common name-ending for hamlets, 
and this means " clearing " : another indication of 
spade work in the Forest. Armathwaite, Culthwaite, 
Curthwaite, Wallthwaite, Applethwaite, Orma- 
thwaite, Wanthwaite, Thornthwaite, Birthwaite, all 
lie at the foot of the hills. In Cumberland alone we 
have forty-three places, the names of which end in 
"thwaite." Cumberland has likewise forty-three 
place-names ending in " by," the Danish for " town " : 
as Thursby, Harraby, Hunsonby, Dolphenby. Other 
Danish - Norwegian name - endings are " thorpe," 
"with," "beck," "dale," "force," "tarn," "ridding," 



"side," "fell," "ray." Ferguson (The Northmen in 
Cumberland and Westmorland) produces a list of 
one hundred and fifty families still existing in the 
district, which bear patronymics either identical with 
or little changed from early Scandinavian forms. 

These Danes, in point of education, gained more 
from the Anglo-Saxons than they brought to them. 
The Christianity of to-day's Scandinavia was exported 
to it from our Angle-Land. In the region of 
Inglewood Forest, about a score of villages bear 
compound designations indicating the fusion of 
British and Danish and Anglo-Christian nomen- 
clatures : Crosby Ravensworth, for example, and 
Kirkby Thore and Broughton Cross. 

Centuries elapsed before Christianity banished 
from Inglewood the division of men into serfs and 
freemen. The serfs were looked upon as akin to 
the lower animals. As for the freeman, he ruled 
his household like a prince (herein he is the pro- 
totype of the " statesman "), and he voted in the 
" Thing " (Parliament) for election of monarch and 
for war or for peace. The Scandinavian name for a 
peasant was " Bonda," which we retain in " husband- 
man," a designation still employed by Cumberland 
farmers for a hired cultivator. These husbandman 
peasants, in the north, held a great amount of land 
from their Jarls, in a kind of feudal tenure, and their 
holdings passed as "garths" (farms). In substance 
the northern Parliaments, or Things, were what is 
betokened by the Manx Tynwald, the Cheshire 
Thingwall, and the Scottish Dingwall. The Thing 
was a " bidden " council, and its deliberations were 
held in the open air, by moonlight, after feasting 



and sacrifice of oxen. Mayborough, at Penrith, 
with its circle of trees enclosing a cup-like clearing, 
was probably a resort of Thing ; and the adjacent 
" King Arthur's Round Table " was likely a circle 
where personal disputes were settled by public duel 
known as the Holmgang, because this arbitrament 
generally took place (as they say) ona" holm," or 
island. The Penrith Round Table consists of a 
circular plateau embraced by a ditch : a formation 
not uncommon in the remains of Danish settlements. 
May not the Holmgang have been a public tourna- 
ment for which an encircling canal created an artificial 
island, whereon the combatants might be as free to 
murder each other as boxers in our ring are free 
to spar ? 

While the tenth century was emerging from its 
first decade, King Edward the Elder successfully 
grappled with the Danish power in Cumbria. His 
son, Athelstan, was equally strong, conquering two 
northern chiefs, Guthred and Donal. At Dacre, 
near Ullswater, with these deferential foemen by 
his side, Athelstan solemnly sat in the " Hall of 
the Three Kings," and in this manner he concluded 
a suzerainty over all the north. 

The Norman Rufus came from the south almost 
one hundred and seventy years later, repaired and 
fortified Carlisle, and established the castles of 
Brougham, Appleby, Brough, and Pendragon. Like 
the Danish Jarls, these Norman monarchs largely 
based their strategic settlements upon the military 
dispositions of the Romans. Why, for instance, do 
we find Brougham Castle, once one of the cruellest 
and most renowned of Cumbrian strongholds, actually 



so low-lying that it is beneath the level of the nearest 
modern road ? The answer is, Here was the only- 
ford across the river Eamont feasible for warlike 
hordes attempting to raid southward. This passage 
gained security from its mighty Roman fort, and was 
connected, north and south, with main thorough- 
fares. The ford was of equal importance in the 
eyes of the Normans, and thus it is that we have 
their castle lying cheek by jowl with the Roman 
camp. Night and day, as in Roman times, Brougham 
Ford was overlooked by a keep, while also closely 
patrolled on the river's very edge by soldier- watch- 
men, who could at any moment communicate with 
the far-sweeping Beacon on the other side of the 

In the fourteenth century we find Inglewood 
Forest comparatively civilised, though restricted by 
boundaries which cut off large portions on the south, 
east, and west — Cockermouth Castle and its domains 
being thus excluded — and which drew their new line 
from Carlisle through Thursby, Ellonby, Blencow, 
Pallat Hill, Mile Lane, Skirsgill, Eamont Bridge, 
Brougham, the junction of Eamont and Eden, and 
back to Carlisle by the Eden Valley. Still, some- 
what as at the period of the Conquest, it was " a 
goodly great forest, full of woods, red deer and 
fallow, wild swine, and all manner of wild beasts." 
We should note that in these days, "forest" rather 
meant virgin hunting-ground than, necessarily, wood- 

Such, anciently, had been the country that now 
lay at the feet of young William Wordsworth, ready 
to acknowledge itself his poetic inheritance. 




While Norman keeps and castles were rearing their 
battlements in the Forest, Penrith town was ad- 
vancing most prosperously, a free borough enjoying 
the market and fair bestowed on it by Henry III. 
At the end of the thirteenth century, Edward I. re- 
ceived from John Balliol of Scotland the manors of 
Penrith, Sowerby, Great Salkeld, and Carleton and 
Scot by. These estates eventually became dowers for 
the queens of England. Charles II. granted to 
Catharine, as part of her marriage settlement, the 
honour of Penrith, the Forest of Inglewood, and 
a hundred manors, including that of Carlisle. The 
Castle of Penrith had been founded early in the 
fifteenth century by a powerful Earl of Westmor- 
land, to protect the free town of Penrith and the 
south from the Scots. 

In Tudor times, as the nation settled, numberless 
half-fortified halls, rather the homes of substantial 
yeomen than the property of a minor aristocracy, 
sprang up in a lowly security guaranteed by the 
proximity of the older strongholds. It is noted in 
Queen Elizabeth's reign that throughout the country 
round Penrith " there are no gentry," but the same 
chronicle adds regarding Penrith itself: "this town 
being a free town for all persons, none man's person 
I can be arrested ; but his goods may." 



Penrith always was more or less what it is now — 
a town of hearty folk, semi- bucolic in origin, not 
fond of manufactures so much as of cattle-dealing 
and general trading and farming ; a mixture of many 
sturdy races, and open-minded with the frankness 
that comes to burghers through whose town all sorts 
of nationalities flow. When the eighteenth century 
was about half-way through its course, Penrith might 
have been reckoned a place of nearly fifteen hundred 
inhabitants. Its streets meandered with an engaging 
waywardness, like rivers, and had confluences in 
great open spaces. The terms employed to denote 
the district divisions of the town show how Danish 
was the original disposition of the place : Dockray, 
Middlegate, Sandgate, Burrowgate, Netherend. The 
houses had slated roofs, and — whitewashed or not — 
were built of sandstone hewn from Beacon Hill, the 
Red Hill that gained for Penrith its stirring Celtic 
name. The parish church was the present spacious 
but uninteresting building, erected in 1720. Its 
churchyard was unfenced, ill-kept, the scene of dis- 
orders at night, the feeding-place of sheep and pigs 
by day. A Cross in the principal market-place stood 
opposite the entrance to the church steps. Round 
the Cross settled the countrywomen, on market-days, 
selling their eggs and butter. There, also, waited 
the farm-servants at the half-yearly " Hirings." Near 
the Cross was the old Moot Hall, where local affairs 
were discussed and (some say) banns were published. 
Against these parliamentary walls the apprentices | 
played lawful tennis. The wooden corners of the 
Moot Hall were decorated with the Bear and Ragged 
Staff of the Warwicks, who had once been in charge 



of Penrith's "honour." East of the Moot Hall was 
the Roundabout House, consisting of two stories and 
cellars, with shops in the first floor, and butchers' 
stalls gathered about the building, protected by pent 
roofs. No houses of merchandise in the town had 
then glass windows. Watchmen, paid by the shop- 
keepers, patrolled the streets all night. From the 
great emporiums, like Whitehaven and Newcastle, 
goods came by pack-horses. Twenty of these animals, 
trained to attend the movements of a "bell-horse," 
would, with their four-footed leader, be under the 
control of a single master. Cattle and sheep passed 
through Penrith in thousands for Brough and marts 
still farther south, but by the time Scottish cattle 
had reached Penrith many of the beasts were foot- 
sore. Living men tell us they have assisted of 
nights, by torchlight, to shoe such cattle, as they 
stood weary and angry in the fields. Each division 
of the hoof had a metal plate nailed on to it. Bull- 
baiting existed in the town till about 1790, for the 
populace excused this cruel entertainment as ad- 
vertising the advent of bull's meat to the town. No 
sooner did the cry go round, "The bull's at the 
steaak," than the shopkeepers put up their shutters 
and locked their doors and set off for the sport, in 
Dockray or Sandgate. Farming and brewing and 
the trades incidental to a town full of inns were the 
main support of a people among whom few were very 
poor or very rich. Whenever anybody of importance 
died, doles from the deceased person's property were 
distributed to the humble folk. Streams of travellers 
flowed through Penrith to and from Scotland. Almost 
as large numbers of people came from Ireland, by 



way of Portpatrick and Whitehaven. The only 
manufactures of the town were " checks," and woollen 
stockings for the army. The townsfolk, in spite of 
their exposed state, had given pretty loyal support 
to the Hanoverians against the Jacobites. Prince 
Charlie, for instance, in the " Forty-Five," as he 
marched through Penrith, kissed some of the ladies ; 
but his hold on the place was allowed to last scarce 
longer than his kisses. 

It was in the " Forty-Five " that Penrith Beacon, 
used for so many years by Celt, Roman, Saxon, Dane, 
and Norman, to flame war news across the Border, was 
set blazing for the last time. In this "Forty-Five" 
the Receiver- General for the county of Cumberland 
was Richard Wordsworth, who had been Sir James 
Lowther's agent from 1723 to 1738. Richard Words- 
worth left his home at Sockbridge, three miles from 
Penrith, to hide in Patterdale, with the county's 
money in his charge, while his wife remained to 
guard the house, in which she courageously entertained 
parties of the rebel officers till Sir James Lowther 
and others were able to clear the land of these gentry. 
The Receiver was an attorney, bred in Yorkshire, 
of a family whose name was originally Wads worth, 
taken from Wadsworth ("the Woollen Cloth Town") 
near Halifax, or from Wad worth near Doncaster. 
Richard, according to the appendix in Christo- 
pher Wordsworth's Memoir of his uncle William 
Wordsworth, was the son of a squire of Falthwaite, 
near Stainborough, Yorkshire, who had to part with 
his landed property in consequence of being led into 
imprudent speculations in coal-mines. The earliest 
entry in the church register of Sockbridge's parish 




•> HI 


church of Barton describes him as " Richard Woods- 
worth " : but this was likely a mere error. Richard 
married Mary, daughter of John Robinson, Mayor 
of Appleby. This lady was not, as some have 
written, a daughter of "Jack Robinson," once 
member of Parliament for Appleby : she was Jack's 
aunt. Jack Robinson's only daughter Mary — pre- 
sumably named after her great-aunt — married the 
Marquis of Abergavenny. Here we find out why 
William's sea-faring brother John called his vessel 
The Earl of Abergavenny. Mr. and Mrs. Richard 
Wordsworth were married, May 25, 1732, in 
Lowther Church ; and at Sockbridge Farm, near the 
more important Sockbridge Hall, they had three 
children: Richard; John, baptized November 27, 
1741; and Anne. Anne married the Reverend Thomas 
Myers in 1763. Young Richard, who displeased his 
father by allying himself to a Yorkshire cousin, 
Elizabeth Favell, became a Customs officer at 
Whitehaven, and at his house there his mother 
died in 1770. She was buried in the church- 
yard of St. Nicholas. Documents connected with 
Richard, now in the possession of Mr. Gordon 
Wordsworth and Mr. George Browne of Townend, 
Troutbeck, establish the fact that Richard Words- 
worth (although Lowther registers rate him as 
" steward " only from 1728) was agent for the 
Lowthers from at least 1723. In that year there are 
several transactions of Lowther business between him 
and Benjamin Browne of Troutbeck. In that year 
also he writes to Benjamin Browne as unmarried, but 
desirous of union in matrimony with a neighbour of 
Browne's, Miss or Mrs. Jackson. A Mr. Knott was 



also paying attentions to this lady, who had a fortune ; 
and perhaps Mr. Knott won her. We know that 
she did not marry Richard. Richard Wordsworth, 
one finds from Mr. Gordon Wordsworth's documents, 
was appointed Clerk of the Peace for Westmorland 
in 1745 and acted in that capacity, both at Appleby 
and at Kendal, till the end of 1750. It is curious 
that the earliest entries in the documents just men- 
tioned refer to Richard as " Mr. Wadsworth " or 
"Mr. Woodsworth." 

In Burrowgate, Penrith, lived a prosperous family 
of Cooksons — a family that can be traced back to 
the sixteenth century. It was a race of tradesmen — 
tincklers (braziers), mercers, grocers, jewellers. A 
William Cookson, brazier, of Penrith, had about 1710 
asserted his Nonconformity so stoutly as to be ex- 
communicated along with his wife Alice, and a 
daughter of his married James Cunningham, a Scot 
who was Presbyterian minister at Penrith. William, 
although a dissenter, was compelled by the law to 
have his children baptized and registered in church, 
but few of his grandchildren were so baptized or 
registered — a proof that for some time after the 
passing of the Toleration Act of 1689, the Cookson 
family remained Nonconformist. One of these grand- 
children was William Cookson, mercer, of Burrow- 
gate, Penrith, born in 1711. His name is to be 
found five or six times in the Penrith church 
register, as that of warden. Mr. George Watson, 
in his pamphlet, The Wordsworth- Hut chinsons, 
seems to be wrong in attributing these signatures to 
a cousin, a grocer — who was also called William 
Cookson. William, the warden, had two pews in the 



north gallery of the church, Nos. 57 and 161. His 
shop, as has been ascertained by inspection of existing 
title-deeds, almost certainly stood where Mr. Arni- 
son's drapery store now figures conspicuously at the 
top of the market-place. William Cookson several 
times appears in the Baron's Court Book of Penrith 
as owning extensive property. There were three 
courts still wielding power in the town, and it is 
interesting to figure Churchwarden William Cookson 
as bearing his bustling part in them. 

The first of these three assemblies was " The Court 
Leet and View of Frankpledge." It was a venerable 
institution that sat at Easter and Michaelmas, under 
a steward, to inquire of all delinquencies, short of 
treason, among the inhabitants of the town. Every 
one dwelling within the Leet (list), from twelve to 
sixty years of age, was bound to suit or service in 
this court, which proceeded by jury ; and each jury 
served also as supervisor of town morals for half a 
year. Pillory and stocks, next to fines, were the 
means of punishment affected by the Leet juries. 
The second assembly was the Court Baron, analogous 
to our County Court. It had jurisdiction over the 
freeholders of the manor, was managed by a steward 
and at least two freeholders, and decreed in cases of 
debt under forty shillings. The third assembly was 
what, to us, is the most interesting of all. The 
" Court of Pie-powdre " (Pieds-Poudreuoc) dealt sum- 
marily with dusty-footed brawlers on market days 
and fair days. It is, indeed, not quite certain from 
our available records that this court sat systematically 
in William Cookson's time ; but probably he had 
occasional opportunities for attending it. Fairs then 



were still held in virtue of a proclamation which 
ended thus : " And if any difference should happen 
about any bargain, or any other matter relating to 
merchandise, thereupon proper notice shall be given 
to the Steward, and the Court of Pie-powdre shall 
immediately be summoned to settle the difference." 

The church registers on frequent occasions give 
lists of the rateable townsmen, and among these, in his 
day, Cookson figured as one of the wealthiest ; four 
times as wealthy as his cousin, William Cookson, the 
grocer. William the mercer, having built up a good 
business that probably extended far beyond counter- 
work, allied himself to a family of pedigree and posi- 
tion. He married Dorothy, daughter of Christopher 
Crackanthorpe of Newbiggin Hall. The exact date 
of this step in William Cookson's social advancement 
we do not know. The couple had their first child 
registered in church on October 26, 1742 : " Crack- 
anthorpe, Richard, son of Mr. William Cookson, 
baptized." On the 20th of January, 1745, "Ann, 
daughter of Mr. Cookson, mercer, was baptized." All 
registers, be it noted, spell this lady's name without 
the final " e " which biographers of the poet, follow- 
ing the example of the poet himself, give to his 
mother's Christian designation. 

The Crackanthorpes were probably not very proud 
about the daughter of their ancient race marrying a 
mercer. When the Crackanthorpe-Cooksons came 
to compile their family pedigree, they omitted mention 
of William Cookson's occupation ; and they ignored 
the very name and existence of William's grandson, 
the poet Wordsworth. William Wordsworth, in his 
Autobiographical Note, tells us explicitly of his being 


("Giant's Graves," and, in nearest foreground, Hutchinson family tomb) 


the grandson of a mercer. Dorothy Wordsworth 
sometimes served in her grandfather's shop. It is 
almost essential to any study of the poet that the 
mental point of view adopted by William and Dorothy 
Wordsworth on the question of family and associates 
should be recognised. They had very good blood in 
their veins, from both sides of the family, but their 
early milieu was bourgeois, and most of their dearest 
early ^'ends were bourgeois ; all through life, to 
state ix tters plainly, they were democratic to a 
degree chat put them out of touch with New- 

It will be remembered that one of the two sons 
of Richard Wordsworth of Sockbridge, lawyer, land- 
agent, and farmer, was named John. John Words- 
worth was brought up to the legal profession under 
his father's care at Sockbridge, and as an apprentice 
he often visited Penrith, three miles distant from his 
home. At Penrith he fell in love with William 
Cookson's daughter Ann. For many years Richard 
had been detached from Sir James Lowther's employ- 
ment ; but that fact did not prevent Sir James from 
keeping his eye on Richard's son John, who, his 
apprenticeship finished, received the well-paid appoint- 
ment of steward to Sir James on a great portion of 
the Lowthers' Whitehaven estate. Sir James had 
at one time instructed a political agent to buy up 
for him many of the Cockermouth houses, with the 
burgages and votes attached to these freeholds. The 
political agent was "Jack Robinson," who became 
M.P. for Appleby, as Sir James's nominee ; later 
le quarrelled with Sir James over money matters, 
and carved out his own fortunes so cleverly as to 

17 b 


become member for Harwich, and a Secretary of the 
Treasury. In 1745 Joshua Lucock, Sheriff of the 
county, whose name may still be read on the lintel- 
stone, built a handsome house in the main street of 
Cockermouth. This house was designed somewhat 
after the plan of contemporary French chateaux, and 
several mansions of the kind arose in Cumberland 
about this time. Sheriff Lucock's house was one of 
those which had been bought for political purposes 
by Sir James Lowther, who put into it as tenant his 
agent, John Wordsworth. Almost as soon as he was 
installed in this great building, seemingly much too 
grand for a newly-fledged bachelor attorney, John 
Wordsworth took to himself for wife his Penrith 
sweetheart. The event is chronicled thus in the 
register of Penrith Church : " John Wordsworth 
of the Parish of Cockermouth, Bachelor, and Ann 
Cookson, of this Parish, spinster and minor ; married 
in this church by License this Fifth Day of February, 
1766, by me John Cowper, Vicar, in the presence of 
Eliz: Threlkeld and J. W. H. Cowper." Ann, as 
we have seen, had been baptized on January 20, 1748, 
and was therefore at the time of her wedding eighteen 
years of age. The bridegroom was twenty-five. Some 
years afterwards the vicar who married the pair, 
Mr. Cowper, gave his own daughter in marriage to 
Ann Wordsworth's brother, the Rev. Dr. William 
Cookson, who rose to be Canon of Windsor. Dorothy 
was a favourite name about Penrith. Miss Cowper's 
name was Dorothy ; and her marriage was attested 
(1788) by Dorothy Wordsworth. 




Cockermouth, clean, smiling, self-respecting — a 
town that was never imposing or important, takes 
its name from a meeting of waters. The Derwent 
washes its northern side, drawing its springs from 
Glaramara's mosses, and reaching the town through 
the lakes of Keswick and Bassenthwaite, to fall 
into the sea at last in the harbour of Working- 
ton. The Derwent at Cockermouth passes over a 
bed of blue slate, and thus acquires that steely- 
sparkle in its easy waters which Wordsworth notes. 
It is bluer than the blue Eamont. The poet never 
mentions the neighbour stream that falls more noisily 
from Buttermere and Crummock Water, through 
Lorton Vale, and ends its sufficiently gracious course 
by merging in the Derwent a few hundred yards 
below the eminence on which the present parish 
church is built. Whether the Celts named this 
brook, though failing for once to exhibit their power 
to bestow haunting appellations on the running 
waters, is not certain ; but the stream is unfortunate 
among fortunate rivers : it is called the Cocker. 

The old castle, of obscure twelfth-century origin, 
had formerly dominated the Derwent and its brother 
brook and the town, though to the poet the shaggy- 
pile was only a " shattered " monument of feudal 
sway. The castle stands on an artificial mound 



which crowns a precipice overlooking the whole plain 
that undulates towards the great hills. This strong- 
hold was seized and held on behalf of the Parliament 
at an early stage in the Civil War of the reign of 
Charles the First. A desperate attempt to reduce it 
was made later by the Royalists under Sir William 
Huddleston of Millom, but it was relieved by Colonel 
Ashton on the approach of Cromwell to Carlisle. 
The castle and lordship are now in the possession of 
Lord Leconfield. 

To another castle of the neighbourhood, Egre- 
mont Castle — like the fortress of Cockermouth, an 
old Lucy possession, and now also the property of 
Lord Leconfield — Wordsworth characteristically 
attaches a legend of feudal greed and robbery. The 
story, really belonging to the mansion of Hutton John, 
Wordsworth entitles The Horn of Egremont Castle. 

The only shadow that rests on the fair, fortunate 
Derwent is that of the fairer, unfortunate Mary Queen 
of Scots. On the thirteenth of May, 1568, after her 
escape from Loch Leven and her rout at Langside, 
Mary rode headlong to the Abbey of Dundrennan 
on the Solway coast, sixty miles from the field of 
battle. At Dundrennan the Queen embarked in a 
fishing-boat, from which she landed at the mouth of 
the Derwent. Sir Henry Curwen received her at 
Workington Hall, whence the fugitive addressed to 
her sister Elizabeth the historic appeal dated May 
17th. On withdrawing from Curwen's hospitality, 
Queen Mary presented her trusted entertainer with 
a small agate drinking cup, now styled " The Luck 
of Workington." The chief gentlemen of the neigh- 
bourhood, among them Lamplugh of Lamplugh Hall, 



Skelton of Branthwaite Hall, and Musgrave of Lowes- 
water, with great respect escorted to Cockermouth 
the exquisite monarch "of alluring grace, pretty 
Scottish speech, and searching wit clouded with mild- 
ness." " No man," says Brantome, " ever beheld her 
without love and admiration, or thought of her fate 
without sorrow or pity." At Cockermouth William 
Fletcher, merchant and manufacturer, attended to 
Mary's needs with every deference. His hall pro- 
vided a sumptuous reception for the Queen, and as 
the sovereign had nothing but a frayed riding-habit to 
her back, Fletcher seized the gratification of sending 
her clothes of costly velvet, which present brought 
him an autograph letter of acknowledgment. Under 
Fletcher's roof Queen Mary rested till the English 
government should determine what was to be done 
with its bewitching foe. When the State determined 
to detain Scotland's ruler in restraint, Sir Richard 
Lowther, Sheriff of Cumberland, received commands 
to carry the royal lady to Carlisle Castle as honour- 
ably as the means of the county would permit. 

Meanwhile the Earl of Northumberland, to whom 
Cockermouth Castle belonged, and who was one of 
the keenest of those who were plotting to re-establish 
Popery in England— he who led "The Rebellion of 
the Northern Earls "—hastened to his Derwent home 
to receive Mary. But that he arrived a day or so 
too late, the Earl's powerful retinue would probably 
have added another to the many picturesque escapes 
which make up no inconsiderable portion of Mary's 
breathless reign. Fate ruled that now Queen Mary 
was to rest from all perils save the possibility 
of execution. From Carlisle she was conducted to 



the captivity of nineteen years, ending at "the 
ensanguined block of Fotheringay." Frail, fond 
humanity ! How its pulses still stir at thought of 
Cockermouth as the footstool of a week for her who 
was " dear to the loves and vowed to the graces " ! 
Even Wordsworth, for Mary's sake, throws away his 
usual indifference to war's glamour of vicissitude. 
The Queen's fortunes in Cumberland thrice furnish 
him with chivalrous meditations. In 1817 the " smile 
of the Moon " brought before his eyes the piteous 
pageant of the woman " born all too high, by wed- 
lock raised still higher" {Lament of Mary Queen 
of Scots). Two years later, he composed the sonnet 
on Mary's Captivity. In 1833, on a soft summer's 
evening, the poet's eye, lingering on a cloudlike mass 
of pine-tree foliage poised in the air, saw shoot 
through its enshrouding gloom a smiling star, and 
this it was — a sight he had often marked and pon- 
dered — which suggested his picture of Mary Queen 
of Scots landing at the mouth of the JDerwent. 
" To the throng how touchingly she bowed, smiling 
like a star." Smile of the Moon ! Smile of the 
Evening Star ! " Time, the old Saturnian seer, 
sighed on the wing, as her foot pressed the strand." 
Hawthorne once said, in a phrase that illuminates 
the Cumbrian's worthy readings of the Queen Mary 
episode, and makes one more patient in awaiting 
America's development of a large sense for creative 
literature, " It takes a great deal of history to make 
a little poetry." 

The name of St. Cuthbert, the Scottish missionary 
of the seventh century who did so much to Christianise 
the north of England, is picturesquely associated with 



the Derwent. His work in Northumberland was 
nearly destroyed by the Danes. When he died, his 
followers wandered about for seven years, from crag 
to crag, cavern to cavern, in Westmorland and 
Cumberland, bearing with them the body of their 
master. The mists only lift above them when record 
tells of their arriving, exhausted, provisionless, at the 
mouth of the Derwent, meditating further flight to 
Ireland. This was in King Alfred's time. The story 
of Alfred's spiritual direction by these Cuthbertines 
(who did not cross the Channel after all) is accessible 
in the old chronicles, and perhaps furnishes the only 
kind of claim that we can allow to Lakeland as having 
directly impinged on English history. The Cuthber- 
tine legend is one well fitted for poetic treatment. 
Wordsworth left it severely alone, except for a casual 
line or two in The Borderers, in the Inscription for 
St. Herbert's Isle, and in canto three of The White 
Doe of Rylstone. It may well be wondered how he 
could avoid the theme, when giving the world his 
matured views of English Church history in the 
Ecclesiastical Sonnets of 1822. 

From the thoroughfare of Cockermouth, about 
1770, every house branched north or south. Each 
house was entered from the single street, to which, 
formerly, access from the country could be had only 
through a town gate. The back door of the house 
led into, first, the yard, and, secondly, the garden. 
The gardens, on the north side of the street, abutted 
on the Derwent. On the south side of the street 
they reached to the town wall, through which they 
had outlet by private doors to the pastures and the 
common land. This common land was beginning to 



suffer from encroachment by the Lowthers, at our 
period. Sir James, fussing about in his black smalls, 
silks, buckles, cocked hat, and always with a pro- 
digious nosegay, "the provincial monarch of un- 
measured lands," was a shadow of feared success, 
rather than a man beloved, in Cumberland ; and we 
have to remember that his agent would hardly win 
the affection of neighbours by the nature of his 
occupation among them. 

The Cockermouth Moot Hall, constructed in 
Tudor times, still dignified the town. Among its 
arches John Wordsworth's children played, and from 
its steps John Wordsworth's banns had been called 
out. Till times later than this, debtors were exhibited 
at the top of this stair, in the stocks ; and if money 
was found in their pockets, two of the coins were 
pasted over the defaulters' eyes. 

The church of these days (burnt down in 1850) 
was a simple building, but ennobled by its position in 
one of the stateliest churchyards of the county. Mr. 
Joseph Gillbanks was the vicar of the parish, though 
during part of his incumbency many Nonconformists 
of Cockermouth denied his right to be so called. 
Mr. Gillbanks married four times. He was not only 
incumbent of Cockermouth, but head master of the 
Free Grammar School in the town. Eventually the 
turbulent folk with revolutionary ideas were too 
strong for this priest, who retired to the living of 

Some curious customs attached to Cockermouth 
church. For instance, it had a midwife licensed to 
it, and her duty was not merely to superintend the 
ushering of children into the world, but to see that 


{From an old print) 


these little ones were (privately or publicly) baptized. 
There still exists a silver baptismal font inscribed, 
" The gift of Mrs. Ann Peill, Midwife to the Church 
of Cockermouth, for the use of Baptism, May 23rd, 

William Wordsworth and Dorothy just missed 
being received at this font, but it is likely that Mrs. 
Peill, glorying in her status as a church officer, was 
present on the occasion subsequently to be chronicled 
as taking place in November of this same year 1 772. 
Each sexton of Cockermouth, on devolving duty to his 
successor, was bound to hand over the public shroud, 
the public coffin, and two " shuffles " (shovels). It 
had been actually frequent for the bodies of poor 
people to be wrapped in this common shroud and 
put into the parish coffin for conveyance to the grave, 
by the side of which the human clay was deprived 
of its brief cold decencies, and tumbled stark into 
the ground. A curious light this throws upon a 
rubric of the Burial Service : 

" When they come to the Grave, while the Corpse is made 
ready to be laid into the earth, the Priest shall say, or the 
Priest and Clerk shall sing, Man that is born of a woman hath 
but a short time to live, and is full of misery." 

This custom of burying the dead without coffins 
pertained in the Kendal region as late as the 
beginning of the eighteenth century. 

Dr. Christopher Wordsworth's Memoir of the 
poet gives us to understand that John Wordsworth 
had general practice as an attorney, and was in the 
way of acquiring a fortune. In the Court Rolls of 
Whitehaven Castle may be read records of his 
rounds as " Steward of Ennerdale," statedly holding 



manorial courts at Seaton, Stainburn, and Clifton 
(near Workington). 

John Wordsworth and Ann, his wife, lived a 
quiet life in their great house. Children came to 
them, and this is the true list of their births and 
baptisms, copied from the church register : 

Baptized: Richard, son of Mr. John Words- 
worth, gentleman, Sept. 29, 1768. 

(Query, comparing this entry with the next, are 
we to suppose that in 1768 John had not 
qualified as attorney ?) 

Baptized : William, son of John Wordsworth,' 

Attorney at Law, aged 1 year 9 months and 1 18 Jany. 
eleven days. 1772. 

Dorothy, his Daughter, aged 3 weeks and 2 days., 

(Here we note that the parents, for some reason, 
had long delayed William's public baptism, and 
seemingly Dorothy was not born on a Christ- 
mas Day, as Christopher Wordsworth avers. 
Christopher states that William was "born 
April 7, baptized April 13.") 

Baptized : Christopher, son of Mr. John Words- 
worth, attorney, aged Twenty nine Days 
8° (sic) 1774. 

(The Family Memoir says that he was born 
June 9 and baptized July 8.) 

Richard became an attorney of Staple Inn, 
London, and died in 1816. Christopher rose to be 
Master of Trinity, Cambridge, and died in 1846. 
John (brother of the poet), is said in the Family 
Memoir to have been " born 4th December, 1772 ; 
baptized at Cockermouth." The register does not 
mention this John, who was wrecked and drowned 
off the coast of AVeymouth in 1805, while in com- 



mand of the East Indiaman Earl of Abergavenny. 
Reflection on the curious entry about William, and 
on the lack of entry about John, leads one to hazard a 
guess that, owing to her own delicacy or that of her 
sons, Mrs. Wordsworth caused William and John to be 
baptized " privately " at her home, with the intention 
of seeing that later they were " received " at church, 
with the second portion of the Church of England 
Baptismal Service : that this receiving was carried 
out for William when Dorothy was baptized in 
church, but was forgotten or otherwise omitted, in 
the case of John. John somehow slipped out of his 
place in the family list of the church register. 

These four children were all remarkable for 
originality of character, which was perhaps better 
fostered in their case by a profitable negligence on 
their parents' part than it would have been by the 
modern governess plan — almost the only plan that 
can be adopted for systematic teaching of chil- 
dren of such a position in a town furnished with 
only one school, and that, badly taught and badly 
equipped. The Grammar School was indeed at- 
tended by William, and possibly by his brothers, but 
only in a half-hearted, desultory way. We are told 
by William Wordsworth that he learnt almost no- 
thing from Mr. Gillbanks's instruction. The school- 
house was close to the church, on the site of the 
present church hall. Wordsworth's mother, at the 
catechising time before Easter, took care to dress 
her boy well and to deck him with a nosegay in his 
bosom, so that he might walk sprightlily in the pro- 
cession from school to church. A Sunday class was 
conducted in the upper part of the school building ; 



tradition holds that there was this Sunday-school 
for years before the appointment of a rate-paid 
Sunday-school teacher in 1786 : it taught reading 
and writing to children of the poor employed during 
the week, and is to be observed as anticipating 
the general movement inaugurated by Robert Raikes. 
The lower story of the structure was reserved for the 
day-school, whence William once escaped to view a 
woman, wrapt in a white sheet, doing penance before 
the altar rail of the church. He had been told that 
if he attended this act as a witness he would receive 
a penny, and to his mother he reported his disap- 
pointment at receiving no guerdon of any kind. 

Mrs. Wordsworth found her second boy a difficult 
child to guide — one might say, an impossible child. 
On his own showing, he was of a stiff and violent 
temper, wedded to his own moods, brooking only his 
sister Dorothy for companion, and her, not always ; 
for he loved to fish in solitude, or, solitary, to spend 
the day over books of romance by the Derwent, with 
an idle rod at hand — or to bathe for^ hours in the 
river or the mill-stream near, running about Indian- 
wise, naked to even the storms — but not unobservant 
of old Skiddaw gleaming in the sun across the belt 
of hail. Ann Wordsworth said often that her boy 
William would become either a very good man or a 
very bad man. What with the inefficiency of Gill- 
banks and the absences of his father, and the not 
unthoughtful indulgence granted by his mother, the 
poet-boy was free to steep himself in the beauty 
of his surroundings. These surroundings have one 
special significance in the poet's evolution. Cocker- 
mouth, not a kind of cosmopolitan mart as Penrith 



was, had the unmistakable characteristics of the 
Cumberland folk fully developed among its inhabit- 
ants, and yet it was on the outer edge, only, of the 
Mountain Land. It lay in a debatable region, fully 
as much linked to the Carlisle plains as to the Lake 
Country proper. Even at this day it is regarded as 
barely inside the now-classic district. Thus there 
seemed to lie in Cockermouth, for Wordsworth, a 
kind of auspicious tempering by which he should 
be attuned to the music of wind and waterfall 
among the impending mountains. It is while the 
exultant child flies naked along the meadows, under 
the blast scudding down from Skiddaw, that we 
most clearly see the poet and the prophet in the 
making. At nine, he was expert at snaring birds — 
that sport of starlight. In these child-farings he 
seemed, even to himself, a trouble to the peace that 
reigned among the steady lights of the sky. Some- 
times he stole the birds that other night-watchers 
had trapped, and in his homeward way the guilty 
boy fancied himself pursued by steps almost as silent 
as the turf they trod. In the terraced garden of 
their stately home, he and Dorothy one day were 
startled to notice two blue eggs gleaming from the 
dusky privets of the terrace walls. Though almost 
ashamed to spy, the boy drew near to the discovered 
nest ; but Dorothy shrank away, with a girl's benig- 
nant, shy modesty, afraid to intrude on the happiness 
of the mother-bird. Dorothy gave her brother ears, 
she gave him eyes, humble cares, delicate fears, 
and touched a fountain in his heart. When he 
chased a butterfly in the garden or over the sward 
of Cockermouth Castle, his sister feared for the 



brushing of the dust from its wings. As they paused 
in their ecstatic games, the children heard the mur- 
murs of that fairest river which had mingled its 
music with their nurse's song. From its shadowed 
alders and rocky falls, a voice issued that flowed along 
the boy's dreams, composing his thoughts to a soft- 
ness beyond that of an ordinary child's, and giving 
him a dim earnest of the calm he was to find, breathed 
by nature through hills and groves. Later, he 
thanked God that he and his beloved river Derwent 
had both been nursed among the mountains within 
the floating shadow of eagles' wings — a freedom far 
prouder than that of any Nemasan victor dragging 
chained captives at his car. But there was darkness 
too for the child-poet, roaming through the feudal 
castle ; soul-appalling darkness : these dungeons 
breathing, as from the very grave of all things, a mute 
lesson for the mute questioners. Chiefly the child 
lived at a high tide of almost overbalancing happi- 
ness ; ecstasy probably never attained by any other 
child ; positive child-inspiration, beyond, for example, 
the cheer that the lame boy lying in the sun by 
Smailholm Tower caught from castle ruins and 
heather stretches and the ballads crooned by his girl- 
guardian — even beyond the trances in which the boy 
Shelley was comrade of the West Wind, while it 
wandered over heaven. Like Lakeland itself, the 
child-nature of Wordsworth had a budding exquisite- 
ness of joy concealed in its every outward, wayward 
gloom. His heart leapt up when he beheld the rain- 
bow. Such a holy calm would overcome his spiritual 
being (at Cockermouth and Hawkshead) that bodily 
eyes were forgotten, and what he saw appeared to 



come from within, a prospect of the child-mind. 
These days were more important to the fostering of 
Wordsworth's prophetic power than any schooling 
he received at Hawkshead, any academic training 
at Cambridge, any suggestion received from French 
Revolutionist or English Coleridge, any " obstinate 
questionings of sense and outward things," making 
up the second phase of his power-expansion. At 
Cockermouth took place one of the greatest irradia- 
tions of the soul by the Spirit of God that can be 
found in the annals of man. Even the glooms of 
child- Wordsworth were the glooms of power, not of 
weak fear. " Nothing was more difficult for me in 
childhood than to admit the notion of death as a state 
applicable to my own being." " I communed with 
all that I saw as something not apart from, but 
inherent, in my own immaterial nature. Many times 
while going to school have I grasped at a wall or tree, 
to recall myself." This was the period, so big with 
healing calm for thinkers in each subsequent genera- 
tion, when the meadows, groves and streams of sheep- 
selling Cockermouth were to one child in its midst 
apparelled in celestial light with the glory and the 
freshness of a dream. Delight and liberty were his 
simple creed. Heaven lay about that infant in his 
infancy, and a vision splendider than any other boy's 
was with him as, like all who are to become great, he 
mused away his childhood in a solitude that dismayed 
even those dearest to him. " Simple childhood sits 
upon a throne more powerful than all the elements." 
From this eminence of child-liberty Wordsworth was 
to pass to ground humbler, yet " a tract in the same 
isthmus." The passing takes place when the school- 



boy has turned his back on Hawkshead, entranced 
and a-tiptoe. 

In a passage of the thirteenth book of the Prelude 
(142), we have described to us a public way that wound 
itself up a hill, crossing the naked summit, and vanish- 
ing into space, " like an invitation or a guide into 
eternity." The sight was " daily present " to the eyes 
of the child. Professor Knight and Dr. Dodgson see 
this naked summit in the road stretching from Cocker- 
mouth to Isel, at a spot called The Hay. Much may 
be said for this theory ; especially may it be argued 
that it gives us a summit " beyond the limits " that 
the child's " feet had trod." Yet Wordsworth affirms 
that the summit was daily present to his eyes. This 
probably means that he saw it whenever he lifted up 
his gaze to the horizon, while playing in his home 
garden. Now, to see the summit of the Isel road, 
the spectator must reach the western end of the 
terrace, and turn his eyes to the extreme east. From 
no other part of the garden could it by any possibility 
be descried. Dr. Dodgson, had he been able to think 
himself through the huge modern Thread Mill that 
occupies the meadow on the other side of the Derwent 
from Wordsworth House, would have found a wind- 
ing path, formerly a rider's highway to Carlisle by 
Woodhall, which climbs and disappears over Mickle- 
brows, a summit still, as in the eighteenth century, 
almost devoid of trees. This summit of Micklebrows 
would be daily surveyed by William from any part 
of the garden or terrace. The Prelude passage was 
written in 1800, interpreting a boyish impression. 
To a child, distances are things of illusion, more often 
than not. The Micklebrows road disappears on the 


* iSai jE 



horizon only a short mile from the garden. But all 
things considered, our picture of the garden and 
Micklebrows is likely the true note upon this question 
of the naked summit which worked so much upon 
the dreaming minds of William and Dorothy Words- 
worth, when they lifted their eyes from flowers, 
butterflies, and sparrows' eggs. And here the reader 
is asked to turn to a seldom-considered poem, written 
by Wordsworth in 1800. It occurs among the verses 
on The Naming of Places, and begins, " There is 
an eminence." The eminence is Stone Arthur, by 
Grasmere, as a prose note by our author informs 
us. The lines tell of the twenty -year -old poet 
sitting beside his slightly younger sister, to mark 
this peak so lofty, distant, sequestered ; the haunt 
of meteors ; beloved of Jupiter ; often, at eventide, 
sending its own deep quiet to restore the hearts of 
the proud poet and his loyal sister. This was the 
loneliest place they had among the clouds. Dorothy, 
whom the author loved " with such communion that 
no place on earth could ever be a solitude " to him, 
called this summit by William's name. We feel that 
the wistful, brave outlook of the children towards 
Micklebrows and the outlook of the children of a 
larger growth towards the mountain on their Gras- 
mere horizon belong to the same sacred mood, in 
which the poetic mind, resting in the loved known, 
finds deepest rest in the still more beloved unknown. 
The poet, in his old age (1833), based a series of 
noderately interesting Evening Voluntaries on lines 
which he composed between Moresby and White- 
laven — lines forming the last stanza of the piece 
entitled, On a High Part of the Coast of Cumberland, 

33 c 


Listening to the unseen sea-swell sounding benignly 
on a tranquil day, Wordsworth invokes the Creator 
who, to rebuke offenders, can clothe Himself in terrors 
like the ocean in its fiercest mood, to teach the quick- 
eared spirit how to rejoice in the softer admonitions of 
nature, that so the soul, withdrawn from such wisdom 
as begins in fear, may expand for a season free from 
care, and rest absorbed in the Deity. Moresby Road 
(an old Roman way) would be the most natural line 
of access to Whitehaven from Cockermouth, in the 
time of the Wordsworth children ; and in the Fenwick 
note attached to the poem we are considering, the poet 
tells us, " With this coast I have been familiar from 
my earliest childhood ; and I remember being struck 
for the first time by the town and port of White- 
haven, and the white waves breaking against its 
quays and piers, as the whole came into view from 
the top of the high ground down which the road (it 
has since been altered) then descended abruptly. My 
sister, when she first heard the voice of the sea from 
this point, and beheld the scene before her, burst into 
tears. Our family then lived at Cockermouth, and 
this fact was often mentioned among us as indicating 
the sensibility for which she was so remarkable." 

The prospect from Distington indicated by Words- 
worth is now so sadly obfuscated by the smoke oi 
Lord Lonsdale's coalpits that Mr. Tucker has drawn 
Whitehaven and its coast from a neighbouring point, 
the Roman Camp of Arbeia, part of which has beei 
enclosed for the church and churchyard of Moresby, 
where the poet's son John, as vicar, often entertained 
his parent. But it is neither of the Roman nor of 
the Celt that these shores give forth memory most 



tenderly. Nor yet is reminiscence keenest about the 
charm of Moresby Hall, three hundred yards away 
from the Roman Camp — a hall of many legends, a 
hall where hospitalities were so regal, and princely % 
personages congregated in such numbers, that to this 
day the Cumberland man, looking over a good whist 
hand of picture cards, will tell himself, as he will 
tell his companions afterwards, that luck brought him 
"a the Moresby Ha' folk." It is the ubiquitous 
Danes who, in their speech, chiefly impressed them- 
selves on this part of England, dotted as it is with 
their village-names ending in "by." When the 
Danes melted away like the pavement of Arbeia, 
something of the breath of their life remained. Their 
successors felt these Northmen with them so much, 
that they passed them into the category of superior 
denizens of the invisible world, lingering spiritually 
about their homesteads that smiled across the seas to 
Mona. Still, among these uplands and the sterner 
hills, the farmers fancy at evening that they can dis- 
cern a harper's music, and melancholy songs sung in a 
sweet foreign tongue ; and it is thought that the very 
cattle prick their ears with surprised love at hearing 
" the Danish Boy, sadly singing the old Bardic lays 
over the barrows of his once mighty forefathers." The 
group of Evening Voluntaries will always be associ- 
ated with Moresby, the place of their birth ; but that 
country-side speaks most winningly to us through 
Wordsworth's Danish Boy. 

The town of Whitehaven, as known to the Words- 
worths, was practically in all the pride of new creation. 
Camden makes no mention of Whitehaven, though it 
figures in Saxton's sea-maps. About a hundred years 



before Wordsworth's time, there were here only three 
houses — Sir John Lowther's and two others — and 
three wherries. In forty years, the number of houses 
had increased to twenty. At the time when Dorothy 
first saw it, Whitehaven was a town of twelve thou- 
sand inhabitants, possessing elegant streets of stone- 
built houses, and one hundred and ninety large ships, 
mostly engaged in the coal trade with Ireland and the 
West Indian trade and the Virginian tobacco trade, 
and the African slave trade ! Tangier House and 
Tangier Street still hold their own, in the centre of 
the town. Twenty thousand hogsheads of Virginian 
tobacco were annually imported here, till Glasgow 
stole the business. Why the port got the name of 
Whitehaven is not clear. The houses are mostly of 
material quarried from the red sandstone cliffs. Some 
explain the name as being originally Thwaitehaven, 
the " Port of the Clearing." Mr. William Jackson in- 
sists that the ancient name was Whitofthaven, the 
'•Port of the White Toft" (knoll) ; and he would have 
us believe that the early houses were built of stone of 
lightest red taken from Tom Herd's Rock. Tom 
Herd's Rock still exists, of course, and never ceases 
from its blush. Possibly the place simply derived its 
exquisite appellation — why never copied ? — from the 
fact that it was a welcome port on a treacherous shore 
of far- spread sands, which caused almost eternal 
breakers at the harbour-opening. 

It is more significant than strange that Words- 
worth makes no mention of an exploit famous in the 
annals not only of Whitehaven, but of all England 
and America. It happened in 1778, when William 
was eight, and Dorothy, seven. Paul Jones, born 



at Kirkcudbright in Scotland, bred to the sea in 
a Whitehaven slaver, became commander of the 
American frigate Ranger. On April 23, 1778, the 
Ranger appeared, from France, outside Whitehaven. 
Jones landed with a few men in two boats, spiked the 
harbour guns, surprised the slumbering guard, and 
ordered the three hundred ships then in the harbour 
to be set on fire. Through mere bungling on the part 
of his subordinates, this order from the leader was not 
carried out ; the moment of panic passed : Paul Jones 
had to take to his boats, and he escaped with difficulty. 

Fletcher Christian, a Cumbrian, was educated at 
Cockermouth Grammar School during, or just about, 
the period of William Wordsworth's attendance. 
Christian ran a career which began its adventures in 
a Whitehaven discovery ship. It was he who led 
the mutiny of the Bounty, and founded the settle- 
ment on Pitcairn Island. 

Not a word have we to show that William and 
Dorothy were moved with any admiration for the 
devil's-daring of such characters. But at Cocker- 
mouth the family often mentioned Dorothy's crying 
over the sea, as indicating " the sensibility for which 
she was so remarkable." Yes, Dorothy ends an ex- 
quisite life in painful exhaustion of all the senses. We 
know not how much of that exhaustion is to be laid 
to the charge of Nature, with its innumerable calls 
on the fine passions of such a being, and how much 
is to be laid to the charge of Wordsworth himself, who 
used freely, while he loved as freely, the dower of divi- 
nation which gave this woman — one of England's dar- 
lings — her station in our literature. Dorothy was a poet. 
In a measure, William, her brother, is her poetry. 




The old folk at Penrith, grandfather William Cook- 
son and grandmother Dorothy, took to their austere 
home, during most of 1776 and 1777, both William 
and Dorothy Wordsworth. William had not pros- 
pered in what Mr. Gillbanks would have considered 
learning : perhaps that was the reason for the change. 
But this is not likely, since the children, reaching 
Penrith, were only sent to a dame's school kept 
by Ann Birkett. Vain are all searches after Dame 
Birkett and her seminary. An impression seems 
to linger that the school was in a group of build- 
ings of which one fragment still exists, the Eliza- 
bethan house figured opposite. The registers say 
Ann was buried in Penrith on November 5, 1790, 
aged eighty-five. " The Dame did not affect to 
make theologians, or logicians, but she taught to 
read, and she practised the memory, often no doubt 
by rote ; but still the faculty was improved. Some- 
thing, perhaps, she explained, and left the rest to 
parents, to masters, and to the pastor of the parish." 
Such is Wordsworth's account of his second teacher. 
His third teacher was his own father, who at intervals 
prescribed to him the learning by heart of long pas- 
sages from the works of Shakespeare, Milton, and 
Spenser — an act which gives us more clue to his 
nature than anything else in the scanty record about 
him. The fourth teacher was Penrith Beacon, with 


.! |E ,nM 

... a 



(Faint tradition says, Dame Birkett's School) 



its world of story lying all round it. The real order of 
influence in 1776-1777 was Penrith Beacon's lessons 
on history ; John Wordsworth's lessons on literature ; 
Dame Birkett's lessons in spelling. 

One sometimes suspects that William was sent to 
Penrith to be out of mischief; and we may suppose 
Dorothy to have accompanied him as a comfort and 
a check ; but if this was the plan, it worked only 
moderately well. The headstrong moods still came 
to the child with terrific force. One day he slashed 
the family portraits with a whip till he broke through 
a canvas, in sheer wantonness. Again, in his grand- 
father's house, something displeasing him, he withdrew 
to an attic, purposing to take his life. To this end 
he had actually seized a foil, he tells us ; but calmer 
thought prevailed. He returned to Dame Birkett's 
" murmuring cave," in the company of Dorothy and 
a little girl, just about his own age, who was to 
become his wife : Mary Hutchinson. 

Every Penrith boy looks upon the Beacon as the 
town's glory and his own chief inheritance, the offset 
against school drudgery. At evening times, the Beacon 
is alive with scores of people ; on summer Saturdays 
and Sundays, hundreds of children frequent it. It is 
near to the town ; is easy of ascent ; affords wonder- 
ful prospects ; and it has no walk to rival it, for idle 
folk or merry-makers. 

The first occasion on which we may watch William 
Wordsworth on the side of the Beacon is a tragic 
one, which has only lately been traced to this locality. 
Knight's surmise that the affair took place " either 
amongst the Lorton Fells or the north-western slopes 
of Skiddaw " must give way to an identification of 



the spot lately established by the poet's grandson, 
Mr. Gordon Wordsworth, who obligingly allows 
mention of his discovery to be made here. 

In 1766 a roadside inn at Carleton, scarcely a 
mile from Penrith, was one evening visited by a 
Langwathby butcher named Thomas Parker, who 
became so overcome with drink that the landlord re- 
commended him to sleep. However, he preferred to 
stumble homewards in the dark, and the morning 
displayed him murdered and robbed, lying near the 
Cowrake quarry on the Edenhall side of the Beacon. 
Circumstantial evidence about this crime condemned 
a man called Thomas Nicholson, and when the deed 
was brought home to him in every detail by the con- 
fession of an accomplice, Nicholson was hanged at 
Carlisle by order of the Assize Court, and then sus- 
pended in chains near this Cowrake quarry. On the 
turf beside the gibbet some one carved the initials 
T. P. M. (Thomas Parker murdered). The deeply-cut 
letters long survived the gibbet, which fell one stormy 
night when a labourer was passing. The labourer, 
during a flash of lightning, perceived the prone skele- 
ton, and took to his heels. He fancied he heard a 
noise pursuing him, and still faster flew he, the noise 
also increasing, until, exhausted, he realised that the 
rain had damped his corduroy breeches, and the 
motion of his knees made them screech as cordu- 
roy breeches sometimes do. This incident of the 
labourer is only a wisp of hearsay gleaned in Penrith. 
What is better authenticated as history is the advent 
of women from Edenhall, when the gibbet fell, with a 
winnowing-sheet in which they shrouded the mur- 
derer's bones — and then they carried them to burial. 



How thin man's history sometimes appears, to the 
investigator — frail and thin as a sheet of tissue paper ! 
Enquiry has been addressed in vain to the Carlisle 
Clerk of the Peace, the Clerks of Assize for Preston 
and York, and the Keeper of the London Record 
Office, for reports of the trial connected with this 
story. The court records and judgment — probably 
with hundreds of contemporary cases and decisions — 
have been lost or destroyed. Walker's History of 
Penrith recounts the tale pretty fully. In the British 
Museum this semi-official summary comes to light : 

Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser (Thursday, 
2nd September 1767). 

" On Tuesday last the Assizes ended at Carlisle, when 
Thomas Nicholson was found guilty of the murder of Thomas 
Parker, a butcher, and was to be hanged last Monday (Aug. 
31st) and afterwards hung in chains near Penrith, where the 
murder was committed." 

Now the twelfth book of the Prelude (208) de- 
scribes how the boy Wordsworth, at an age when he 
could hardly hold a bridle properly, set out to ride 
up " the hills," guided and encouraged by " an ancient 
servant of his father's house." No one who has 
studied Wordsworth's methods in description will 
find difficulty in believing that, if metre had not 
demanded " father " here, " grandfather " would pro- 
bably have been the word employed to suit the facts : 
though " father " still will serve. As the boy and the 
old servant lost each other for a little on the hillside, 
the inexperienced young rider dismounted, and when 
he was leading his beast down the valley he came 
to a bottom where a murderer had formerly been 
hanged in chains. The gibbet mast had mouldered, 
and the bones and their iron casing had gone ; but 



hard by, on the turf, an unknown hand had carved 
the murderer's name. [As a matter of fact, the 
initials were not the criminal's — they were his victim's : 
but Wordsworth tells the incident neither very ac- 
curately nor very clearly ; he does not state what 
must have been the case, that the initials brought 
before his child-mind a story with which he was 
already familiar.] Faltering and faint, the boy, 
thoroughly out of his bearings, began climbing again 
the " bare common " [the Beacon was devoid of trees, 
and was common land ; in 1820 it was annexed by 
the Earl of Lonsdale]. By and by he recognised a 
tarn, with the Beacon above it, and, nearer at hand, 
a girl carrying on her head a pitcher, and forcing her 
way with difficult steps against the gale that was 
blowing. After all, it was an ordinary sight, yet the 
poet tells us he would need colours and words un- 
known to man, to paint the visionary dreariness of the 
pool, and the moorland waste on which his guide had 
disappeared, and the young woman with her garments 
vexed by the stormy wind. 

The references to this passage in the Prelude must 
be completed. The poet goes on to describe later feel- 
ings haunting him on the same hill. Naturally misled 
by his guess that the scene of the murder lay at 
Lorton or Skiddaw, Professor Knight understands 
the sequel, now to be explained, as denoting wander- 
ings with Dorothy. It is really Mary Hutchinson who 
is indicated. William Wordsworth tells us that " in 
the blessed hours of early love " when he had " the 
loved one at his side," he daily roamed over that same 
scene, visiting the "naked tarn and the dreary crags 
and the melancholy Beacon," and lo ! over all had 



fallen " a spirit of pleasure and youth's golden gleam." 
Here we must be grateful to Mr. Gordon Words- 
worth for pointing out that these precise words — " a 
spirit of pleasure and youth's golden gleam" — are again 
used in the two hundred and thirty-sixth line of the 
sixth book of the Prelude, where Mary is clearly out- 
lined. Proceeding, in the twelfth book, Wordsworth 
moralises these Beacon incidents to show how feeling 
comes to the aid of feeling, and diversity of strength 
is given us, if we have faculty to apprehend strength. 
In simple childhood a man can see the base of his 
truest greatness to stand. Greatness must come from 
within the self ; one must have power to give, in order 

to receive. He adds : 

" The days gone by 
Return upon me almost from the dawn 
Of life : the hiding-places of man's power 
Open ; I would approach them, but they close. 
I see by glimpses now ; when age comes on, 
May scarcely see at all." (277) 

What, exactly, does the poet mean ? Are we wrong — 
probably not ! — in surmising that this earliest Beacon 
experience of terror in association with loathed murder 
gave him a power to cast out of himself, as beneath 
the truest dignity of a human soul, interest in bloody 
crime ? Have we here noted an elemental revulsion 
in the child against what lay all round the Beacon — 
the record of rapine, partially consecrated though it 
had become by a rough valour wrapped in romance ? 
Sir Walter Scott would have always found delight, 
and delight alone, in gazing from the Beacon. To 
Wordsworth there had come some shock of being that 
forced him, the boy, even when he climbed its slopes, 
to regard this summit, surrounded by all the lore of 



Inglewood, as "the melancholy Beacon." The position 
of interpretation taken up here must be admitted to 
be assailable. One must remember always the warning 
of a great French chemist as to the principles of scien- 
tific investigation : " Unless we are very careful indeed, 
we shall find that for which we are looking." Still, 
Mr. Gordon Wordsworth, in localising an interesting 
description, has lighted up an important point in his 
grandfather's poetic development. If the student be 
not fully disposed to agree with the present writer's 
gloss upon the incident, let him re-read the twelfth 
book of the Prelude, and say if this passage in the 
poem does not mark a " fundamental " of some such 
quality as conjecture has here attempted to indicate. 
It was never to Mary Hutchinson — no, nor even 
to Dorothy, that Wordsworth's deepest pledge of love 
was given. His virgin spirit had been already, at 
Cockermouth, irrevocably devoted to virgin Nature. 
The Beacon did not belong to virgin Nature. It stood 
for only human passions ; for fear, in a land of ferocious 
cunning. We cannot, of course, discern the various 
tricklings of almost unconscious impression that come 
out of a child's life into a man's convictions. It is 
not contended that in the experience of the child 
Wordsworth there was ever a clearly conscious repu- 
diation of all for which the Beacon stands in our 
national story. The most potent moods and divinations 
in a boy, framing the man, are the unconscious or 
barely- conscious. Wordsworth himself firmly believed 
in this elemental framing of the man — as who, indeed, 
has not learnt to believe ? With the hope that a sub- 
sequent chapter of this book will amplify and vindi- 
cate such a theory, the surmise is here propounded that 



all expressions of Wordsworth, at any age, which can 
be traced to the Beacon are implicitly a repudiation of 
blind war, forays, and revenges, the grinding sway of 
feudalism, monarchy upheld at the cost of labourers' 
serfdom. Take from the Poems four outstanding 
examples to bear out this hypothesis : 

First. Suggested by a View from an Eminence 
in Inglewood Forest. The Fenwick Note tells us 
expressly that this sonnet in Yarrow Revisited and 
Other Poems is written about the Penrith Beacon, 
and that the tree mentioned in it is the " Bound 
Thorn," still standing at Penrith to-day, gnarled and 
swart amid a rush of tall young larches. The poem 
recounts how — 

" The forest huge of ancient Caledon 
Is but a name, no more is Inglewood, 
That swept from hill to hill, from flood to flood : 
On her last thorn the nightly moon has shone ; 
Yet still, though unappropriate Wild be none, 
Fair parks spread wide where Adam Bell might 

With Clym o' the Clough, were they alive again, 
To kill for merry feast their venison. 
Nor wants the holy Abbot's gliding Shade 
His church with monumental wreck bestrown ; 
The feudal Warrior-chief, a Ghost unlaid, 
Hath still his castle, though a skeleton, 
That he may watch by night, and lessons con 
Of power that perishes and rights that fade. 

Second. Prelude (hi. 113) : 

" I called on both [earth and sky] to teach me what 
they might; 
Or turning the mind in upon herself, 
Pored, watched, expected, listened, spread my 

And spread them with a wider creeping ; felt 
Incumbencies more awful, visitings 



Of the Upholder of the tranquil soul, 

That tolerates the indignities of Time 

I had a world about me — 'twas my own ; 
I made it, for it only lived to me, 

And to the God who sees into the heart 

It was no madness, for the bodily eye 

Amid my strongest workings evermore 

Was searching out the lines of difference 

As they lie hid in all external forms, 

Near or remote, minute or vast ; an eye 

Which, from a tree, a stone, a withered leaf, 

To the broad ocean and the azure heavens 

Spangled with kindred multitudes of stars, 

Could find no surface where its power might sleep ; 

Which spake perpetual logic to my soul, 

And by an unrelenting agency 

Did bind my feelings even as in a chain. 

And here, O Friend! have I retraced my life 

Up to an eminence, and told a tale 

Of matters which not falsely may be called 

The glory of my youth 

This is, in truth, heroic argument, 
This genuine prowess .... 
Points have we all of us within our souls 
Where all stand single ; 

.... there's not a man 
That lives who hath not known his godlike hours, 
And feels not what an empire we inherit 
As natural beings in the strength of Nature. 

No more : for now into a populous plain 
We must descend" 

Third. Descriptive Sketches (628). The young 
revolutionary Wordsworth of 1791-92 stands by 
the banks of the Loiret, in France, and speaks in 
language that seems as much tinged with English 
hopes as with sympathy for France — 

" Methought from every cot the watchful bird 
Crowed with ear-piercing power till then unheard ; 



Each clacking mill, that broke the murmuring streams, 

Rocked the charmed thought in more delightful dreams 

Chasing those pleasant dreams, the falling leaf 

Awoke a fainter sense of moral grief; 

The measured echo of the distant flail 

Wound in more welcome cadence down the vale ; 

With more majestic course the water rolled, 

And ripening foliage shone with richer gold. 

— But foes are gathering — Libert?/ must raise 

Red on the hills her beacon's far- seen blaze ; 

Must bid the tocsin ring from tower to tower ! — 

Nearer and nearer comes the trying hour ! 

Rejoice, brave Land, though pride's perverted ire 

Rouse hell's own aid, and wrap thy fields in fire : 

Lo, from the flames a great and glorious birth ; 

As if a new-made heaven were hailing a new earth ! 

— All cannot be : the promise is too fair 

For creatures doomed to breathe terrestrial air : 

Yet not for this will sober reason frown 

Upon that promise, nor the hope disown ; 

She knows that only from high aims ensue 

Rich guerdons, and to them alone are due. 1 '' 

Fourth. Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle. 
This poem opens in such a manner as to answer 
those who will argue that Wordsworth was devoid 
of power to apprehend any form of the romantic. 
He apprehends — and puts aside. The lilt of old 
chivalry and the very Scott -gallop are there, in 
the long stretch of rhymed octosyllabics furnishing 
most of the poem, descriptive of the feudal baron 
coming to his own, and feasting the followers who 
expect him to lead them to a still finer entertain- 
ment, revenge upon their foes. Then the poem, 
after a few lines rushing in still more straightened 
metre like a turbulent Highland torrent entering 
a deep, cool rock-cistern, proceeds in pentameters 
of alternate rhyme to tell us of the fresh ideas about 



life that reached Henry, Lord Clifford, on the slopes 
of Threlkeld, when he roamed there, a shepherd 

" Love had he found in huts where poor men lie ; 
His daily teachers had been woods and rills, 
The silence that is in the starry sky, 
The sleep that is among the lonely hills. 

" In him the savage virtue of the Race, 
Revenge, and all ferocious thoughts were dead : 
Nor did he change ; but kept in lofty place 
The wisdom which adversity had bred." 

This is the key poem of Wordsworth's being, in 
earliest ripening of feeling, and in full maturity of 
thought. At Cockermouth the child learnt a supernal 
wisdom from purest nature, that made feudal man 
and feudal beacons and feudal castles things more 
to sigh about than to sing. Wordsworth had been 
schooled, like the shepherd lord, to go in humble 
walks, with feelings that were being tamed and 

" When evil men are strong, 
No life is good, no pleasure long." 

Such was the survey of existence in young Words- 
worth's moments of relaxed power. But the highest 
Wordsworth finds escape from the doctrine ; for 
Clifford, in an age of despotism, had acquired amid 
the hills and streams the secret that conveyed, to the 
minstrel who was to sing him, the serenest sanity. 
So had the child Wordsworth turned from Cocker- 
mouth Castle as " a shattered monument of feudal 
sway," to love fresh Derwent and the step of states- 
men in the free streets of Cockermouth. So do we 



find the Beacon of Penrith abandoned for lonelier 
heights where had sat Freedom from of old. 

The Penrith church registers, under the shadow 
of the Beacon, begin in 1556. Their first parchment 
leaf is inscribed by " William Walliss, vicarius quon- 
dam," with " Proper Nots " (things Penrith people 
should ever remember thankfully) ; and the intro- 
ductory " Not " is — " Flodden Field was in Anno 
Dom. 1513." How this would have made Scott's 
eyes glisten ! Wordsworth would probably have 
turned the page, and made no sign. 

Condescend to study our poet in a map of Lake- 
land. A few moments will enable us to construct 
from this a catalogue of what lay around the boy at 
Penrith ; glorious hills, the names of which, for all 
their music, were first breathed by savages ; the camps 
that served the Romans who conquered and contemned 
these savages ; the duelling-grounds of Danes ; the 
frowning fortresses of Norman robber-chiefs ; even the 
Tudor farms armed and battlemented, to defend flocks 
and herds and the honour of women. The whole 
domain of Inglewood — the whole circle of Northern 
Romance in England — lies around the boy-poet's feet. 
But, achingly redolent of valour though that land of 
ballad-stuff be, it is tainted. The scarce-conscious 
soul of child-Wordsworth repudiates his inheritance. 
See, through this ruined Norman window of Brougham 
Castle, yonder unknown land ! It is unsung hitherto. 
It is spoken of by the general world as a region where 
beauty walks always in a robe of terror. This — a 
virgin land, a land with no feudal castles in it, claiming 
scant history, that little, however, the chronicle of men 
free as the streams they live beside — this is the land 

49 d 


he will sing, this is the land in which he will work 
out his consecration and his poet's dream. Not in vain 
had the wisdom and spirit of the universe from the 
dawn of his childhood intertwined for Wordsworth the 
passions that build up the human soul. That wisdom 
turned him from " the mean and vulgar works of man 
to high objects and enduring things," to life and 
nature in their elemental purity. 

They who learn, with Rousseau, to walk on 
their heels backwards in search of Nature will weary 
of the journey, though not for the first mile, may- 
hap. They who walk forward with Wordsworth will 
securely pace their own world, in the light of their 
own day. Wordsworth found a way of escape, for 
himself and for us, a way of sanity, in which chronicles 
of man's bickerings assume character less impor- 
tant, when we are occupied in trying to catch, for 
humanity, the perennial cheer of cloud and stream 
and wind, a visual language. Wordsworth is the 
prose of Berkeley and Fichte carried on into poesy. 

Well, some of us feel that we can never fully ex- 
press our gratitude to Wordsworth for the teaching 
that followed upon his gran rifiuto. And this may 
still be our reverent feeling, although we have moods 
in which we value Kinmont Willie more than whole 
volumes of reflective verse, and would rather have 
blown that single trumpet blast, when all was ready 
for Willie's release by escalade at Carlisle Castle, in 
the grey dawn, than uttered the best sonnet of the 
English tongue. 

But how came Wordsworth to choose the valley 
of Threlkeld as the particular part of England from 
which he would teach his lesson of calm ? An answer 




is found in the fact that Threlkeld lies midway 
between Cockermouth and Penrith, and on the direct 
road from the former town to the latter. Boy and 
man, Wordsworth rode or trudged scores of times 
along that overshadowed horse-track. The valley 
happily maintains, even yet, its pristine simplicity. 
True, a railway line runs side by side with the river 
Glenderamakin, but it seems to carry all the world 
from Penrith past Threlkeld to Keswick or from 
Keswick to Penrith. No " fine houses " have sprung 
up in Threlkeld valley, still a region of leisurely 
shepherds and their like, Blencathara spreading its 
magnificent bat's-wings over it on the north, while 
the south side is guarded by the considerable mass of 
Clough Head, and by Mell Fell— a kind of joke in 
nature as a round contrast to angular Blencathara. 
It is to be noticed that where a single mountain 
detaches itself in this district, the atmospheric effects 
playing upon it become doubly impressive. Skiddaw 
as seen from Bassenthwaite and Blencathara rearing 
itself over Threlkeld are not to be surpassed for 
atmospheric glamour by any mountains in Lakeland. 
Sometimes one or other of these kingly hills will 
withdraw itself into a vaporous gathering that is not 
ordinary haze or mist, still less rain, but, as it were, a 
bloom of dews, amethystine, volatile, as soft as quick 
in motions of embracement ; and lo ! the hill grows 
weightier, more insistent, in its own dumb patience, a 
dim towering God of fate, aloof, but withal benedic- 
tive in its massive majesty, breathing the nobilities of 
silence — we might imagine — through a veil made up 
of all the tears of all the women who have found love 
for child or man inexpressible by words. 



The north-eastern end of Threlkeld valley melts 
openly as a plain into Ingle wood and the great caravan 
route from Scotland to the southern world (see Dales 
Map, p. 220). Clifford, in his time, could look 
east with level eyes to that horizon just beneath which 
lay his inheritance. But to the south-west, at the 
other end, the shepherd lord would gaze, it is like, 
with alien feeling : there lay the land of which the 
lonely witcheries were uncanny, the inhabitants sup- 
posed barbarous, a land over which blew more than 
half the storms that " fleeced the shuddering ground " 
in Threlkeld's wintry deeps. And still the genius loci, 
under the silence of the starry sky, was prevailing 
to teach trust in all Nature and therefore in natural 
Man. We see that in his customary travels between 
father's home and grandfather's home, Wordsworth 
was given abundant opportunity for brooding specu- 
lations, differing wholly in character as he faced up 
the valley towards the roaring towns or loitered down- 
wards through it towards the silences that lay among 
these unsung hills, hills a-slumber in neglect, count- 
less echoes unwaked save by sheep-flocks and the 
raven. The story of Clifford would grow into the 
boy- Wordsworth's mind with the force of a Pilgrim's 
Progress. Stand to-day in the middle of Threlkeld 
valley. In character, in feeling, does it draw towards 
the world beginning at Penrith, or does it cling to the 
westering belt of still mountains? Every field, every 
cottage partakes of the appealing pastoral sincerity of 
the west. The dale's choice has long been made and 
fixed, if a dale may be deemed to have any expression 
in its countenance. Wordsworth's choice coincided 
with the feeling we find in Threlkeld valley. 


(Scene of " Shepherd Lord's" early life) 



How could Dorothy Wordsworth endure the bull- 
baitings at Dockray and Sandgate ? What, perched 
in his grandfather's north gallery seat in church, of a 
Sunday morning, thought William when the psalm 
became drowned — as sometimes actually happened — 
by acclamations issuing from the adjacent cock-pit ? 
It was a rough world, Penrith, for spirits like 

! these. The children have little to tell us about it. 

i Of Grandfather Cookson, hardly a word. Since June 
27, 1760, Grandfather Wordsworth had been lying 
in his grave in Barton Church chancel. The roof 
and the walls of the church were open to the elements, 
and a hare was killed by the hunt one day at this 
very grave. Although Christopher Wordsworth in- 
forms us that the family of the poet's paternal grand- 
father helped the youth in his poetical education, 
neither the biographer nor anybody else has satisfied 
our curiosity as to the quality of the encouragement 
vouchsafed. Mrs. Dorothy Crackanthorpe Cookson 
had the carpet laid in the drawing-room only " on 
particular occasions." One is dubious about the 
lady. This, perhaps, was the Crackanthorpe side of 
her. Yet she learned to be a Cookson, and " sat in 
the shop in the afternoons," says Dorothy. " I had 
become perverse and obstinate in defying punish- 
ment, and rather proud of it than otherwise." Such 



is Wordsworth's record of himself, and he further 
declares that " this state of mind resulted, possibly, 
from some want of judgment in punishments in- 
flicted." About the grandmother, Dorothy Crack - 
anthorpe, little but stony silence from both orphans. 
There are moments when our fancy can detect more 
than an unreasoned burst of child petulance in the 
whipping of the family portraits ranged in the drawing- 
room above the shop. We may take it that William 
— Dorothy by his side to share — had life nearly all 
his own way at Cockermouth ; but at Penrith that 
visionary gleam somewhat faded. 

A mile distant from Penrith, just beside the 
Roman fort on the blue Eamont River, stands the 
castle of Brougham. This castle would be an in- 
evitable haunt of the young brother and sister, a 
place for brooding in, no doubt more truly their 
Penrith school of dreams than either the mercery 
or Dame Birkett's academy for infants. Of all the 
views of Brougham, probably the best glimpse one 
gets of it is from the highroad. It shows the for- 
tress in seeming humility casting its ruined features 
into the reflecting pool of the stream, sinking back 
in a kind of sombre sadness of battered stone into 
the dusk of the trees that compass it with a shelter 
felt to be needed — the peak of Warcop Fell rising 
above it five miles away, and beyond the Fell, on 
the immediate right, bright uplands and the gorge 
that opens past the cousin-castles of Brough and Pen- 
dragon (both within Westmorland) to Skipton Castle 
in Yorkshire. 

We saw, in a former chapter, that Brougham is 
said to owe its foundation to William Rufus. About 



1238 the Prior of Carlisle was entrusted with the 
tutorship of Robert de Veteripont, Lord of Broug- 
ham. The prior made an inventory of the place, and 
he records that " the walls and roofs are gone to 
decay, for want of repairing the gutters." We are 
apt to lose the fact that every age has had ruins to 
amuse it. Veteripont's castle, inventoried as desolate, 
was so left, until Roger de Clifford, son-in-law of 
Robert de Veteripont, repaired and extended it, and 
placed over one of its doors a stone engraved with 
these ambiguous words : " Thys made Roger." 
Read the inscription backwards or forwards, as 
you please. 

In 1333, Balliol, King of Scotland, was the guest 
of Robert, Lord Clifford, in Brougham Castle, with 
a single greyhound as companion. Balliol once 
outdistanced the royal hunt in chase of a stag; and 
after a long run, and an astounding leap over a high 
wall, the stag fell dead, having led the Scottish mon- 
arch a course that at one point of the circle came 
near the border of his kingdom. The quarry sank 
in Whinfell Park, not far from Penrith. The hound 
attempted the same leap, but fell back discomfited, 
and died also. To a tree in the park the antlers 
of this champion stag of Inglewood were nailed by 
Balliol's command, and there they remained until the 
beginning of the nineteenth century. The incident 
is commemorated in Wordsworth's poem, Ha?~fs 
Horn Tree. 

This Lord Robert was what the Norse called " a 
straw man." He died in his bed. He was succeeded 
by his eldest son, a Robert also, who fought at Cressy 
and fell in the French wars, aged thirty-two. Thirty - 



two, in such furious times, was quite a fair age for a 
nobleman to attain. 

After the Cliffords had intermarried with the 
Percies, there was a young Lord Clifford who cap- 
tured the French town of Pontoise one snowy night, 
by clothing himself and his men in white and so 
surprising the garrison. It was his son John who 
achieved notoriety by revengefully killing the strip- 
ling Earl of Rutland. To the youth, begging for 
mercy in the battle of Wakefield, Clifford exclaimed 
— and he himself was barely twenty-five years old — 
" Thy father slew mine, and I will slay thee." So he 
stabbed him. The murderer was killed three months 
later by his enemies of York, who overthrew the 
Lancastrians at the fight of Dintingale which ushered 
in the battle of Towton Field. 

With her two boys, the widow of Lord Clifford 
was attainted. All three had to hide from their re- 
lentless enemies, the mother and her younger son 
escaping to the Low Countries, and leaving Henry, 
the elder son, to be brought up as a shepherd by Sir 
Lancelot Threlkeld of Threlkeld and Yanwath Hall. 
Sir Lancelot uttered a naive saying that is not with- 
out its bearing on Wordsworth's feeling against these 
times : " I have three noble houses — one, for pleasure, 
Crosby in Westmorland, where I have a park full of 
deer ; one for profit and warmth, wherein to reside 
during winter, namely, Yanwath, near Penrith ; and 
the third, Threlkeld, well stocked with tenants to go 
with me to the wars." Ere long, Sir Lancelot became 
the second husband of Lady Clifford. Elencathara 
and Carrock, overshadowing Threlkeld, were for years 
the pastoral pleasance of the boy. But even here, 



albeit he was ignorant of his noble birth, Henry 
Clifford was not safe, since his chief foe by race, the 
Duke of Gloucester, held court at Penrith Castle, 
and instituted such inquisitions that Henry was con- 
veyed by his guardian to the Scottish Border. There, 
although unable to read or write, the youth became 
something of an astrologer, even an astronomer. 
After the shepherd had passed twenty years of his 
life in happy obscurity, Henry VII. gave him his 
rightful titles, honours, and estates. The shepherd 
lord learned to read ; and once he fought bravely for 
his country — at Flodden. Wordsworth makes no 
mention of the fighting at Flodden in any connection 
with the Feast, though later he admits it in The 
White Doe of Rylstone. Henry rebuilt several of his 
castles : Pendragon, for instance, and Brough, and 
Brougham. Barden Tower he restored, to be his real 
home, where astronomical instruments became his 
weapons. He was altogether a plain man, shunning 
the London Court as much as he dared, yet figuring 
there on stress of occasion wisely and like a good 
English gentleman. Henry Clifford was twice mar- 
ried, and died in 1523, aged seventy. The Nut 
Brown Maid in Percy's Reliques is a ballad which 
many regard as recounting the love affair of Henry 
with the maiden who became his first wife, Ann, 
daughter of Sir John St. John of Bletsoe. 

The successor of this shepherd lord — Henry by 
name likewise — died at Brougham Castle after enjoy- 
ing his honours and estates during forty-seven years. 
This Henry also was an astrologer, given to chemistry 
moreover, " a great distiller of waters, and very 
studious in all manner of learning: he had an 



excellent library of books both hand -written and 

Yes, the times were passing when only iron in 
the blood made " a man." There came, in Elizabeth's 
reign, a George, Earl of Cumberland, master of 
Brougham Castle, who was a mathematician, and his 
tastes led him from pure mathematics to scientific 
navigation, and thence to the seafaring life. At his 
own cost he built ships for Elizabeth's service, selling 
part of his estates to furnish the ships with sailors. 
Here is an extract from a manuscript, preserved at 
Skipton Castle, describing this Earl's " Voyage to 
India " :— 

" November 5. — Our men went on Shor and fet rys abord, 
and burnt the rest of the houses in the negers towne ; and our 
bot went downe to the outermoste pointe of the ryver, and burnt 
a towne, and brout away all the rys that was in the towne. 
The 6th day we servyd God, being Sunday." 

The Earl performed eleven voyages, and com- 
manded that Bonaventure which fought against the 
Spanish Armada. Handsome, as extravagant in 
pleasure as he was generous in ships, he was a de- 
light to his Queen, who appointed him her official 
champion at the Court jousts. You can see his 
tourney suit to-day, at Appleby. It is inlaid with 
gold. Lord Henry usually wore in his hat a glove 
which he won as a favour from Elizabeth, and which 
he had caused to be incrusted with jewels. 

This grand seignieur was a voluptuary, a bad hus- 
band, and a sorry father to that Anne Clifford of re- 
nown greater than his own, who, at sixteen, married 
Richard Sackville, Earl of Dorset. Anne had trouble 
with this avaricious husband, for his demands upon 
her private purse were encouraged, though vainly, 



by James I. Twice the lady was haled before the 
King ; twice she held her own. Returning from a 
visit to her saintly mother at Brougham Castle, the 
Countess of Dorset bade adieu to her parent — as it 
proved, for ever — on the Appleby road, in the year 
and in the month when Shakespeare died, April, 
1616. The Countess afterward erected on the spot a 
memorial pillar. The stone still exists, with a " done- 
up" metal inscription, and hideous decoration in yellow 
and blue paint. The original inscription ran thus, as 
Wordsworth gives it in a note to his poem on the 
subject : 

"This pillar was erected, in the year 1658, by Anne 
Countess Dowager of Pembroke, for a memorial of her last 
parting with her pious mother, Margaret Countess Dowager 
of Cumberland, on the 2nd of April 1616 ; in memory whereof 
she hath left an annuity of £4< to be distributed to the poor 
of the parish of Brougham, every 2nd day of April for ever, 
upon the stone table hard by. Laus Deo ! " 

This dole continues to our day, and gives occasion 
for a kind of popular fete. The Dole Table still, be- 
side the pillar, happily holds its place, worn down to 
the likeness of a soft grey cushion, dignified by the 
contemptuous neglect of the Penrith house-painters. 
Mrs. Hemans, like Wordsworth, wrote verses about 
The Countess Pillar. 

"The 5th day of October (1675) did I remove 
into my Castle at Brougham." So runs a line in 
the Countess's stately autobiography. Six months 
later, the Countess died in Brougham Castle, and she 
was buried in the tomb she had prepared for herself 
in Appleby Church. 

The estate now devolving upon the Tuftons, in 
the person of Nicholas, Earl of Thanet, that family 



dismantled Brougham Castle in 1720 and sold much 
of its materials. At the rebuilding of Penrith Church 
in this same year, the roof was largely constructed of 
beams that had covered the oft-and-sorely-tried castle 
of Brougham. 

Our account of a single Inglewood castle may 
suffice to display the feudal material lying all round 
Penrith Beacon, fit for some kind of literary treat- 
ment. This material never caught at the heart of 
our poet. He is no Norman. We doubt if he be a 
Saxon, although the present form of his patronymic 
has a Saxon sound and appearance. What is he, in 
racial feeling? Surely, a strange and subtly-feeling 
compound : a Dane by blood-origin (the Crackan- 
thorpes probably account for his ability, and they 
are of Danish descent), but a Dane nursed into un- 
wonted imaginativeness by his cradle-music, the 
songs and sighings of the Cockermouth floods and 
fells breathing into his ear mysteries such as fed 
the Cymric spirit. " In England, to this day, the 
descendants of the Anglo-Danes in Cumberland and 
Yorkshire are taller and bonier than those of the 
Anglo-Saxons in Surrey and Sussex." So writes 
Lytton, in Harold; and Lytton also dwells upon 
the light eyes and light hair of the northern children 
as Scandinavian. The great poet of Cumberland 
bore every mark of a Dane ; his hair was light and 
his eyes were blue ; his stature was great and his 
frame and face were bony. He was by predomi- 
nance of strain some sort of Scandinavian, probably. 
But daily to the child came an emanation, an ex- 
halation of Nature as it had appealed to Celts of 
yore. "The murmurs of that fairest river [the 



Derwent] had mingled its music with his nurse's 
song. From its shadowed alders and rocky falls, a 
voice issued that flowed along the boy's dreams, com- 
posing his thoughts to a softness beyond that of an 
ordinary child's, and giving him a dim earnest of the 
calm he was to find breathed by Nature through 
hills and groves. He thanked God that he and 
Derwent had both been nursed among the moun- 
tains within the floating shadow of eagles' wings — 
a freedom far prouder than that of any Nemsean 
victor dragging chained captives at his car." The 
reader will probably pardon this second borrowing 
of these words from the Prelude. 

Now let this same reader turn to one of the poems 
reminiscent of youthful impressions, the Goslar poem 
to which reference has already been made — The 
Danish Boy. Who is the real " Danish Boy " ? 
Mark this passage in the 1800 edition, dropped from 
all subsequent editions : 

" When near this blasted tree you pass, 
Two sods are plainly to be seen 
Close at its root, and each with grass 
Is cover'd fresh and green. 
Like turf upon a new-made grave, 
These two green sods together lie ; 
Nor heat, nor cold, nor rain, nor wind 
Can these two sods together bind, 
Nor sun, nor earth, nor sky. 
But side by side, the two are laid, 
As if just sever'd by the spade."" 

Wordsworth says, " The poem was entirely fancy." 
It is here suggested that The Danish Boy be pondered 
once more after our Hawkshead chapters have been 
read, and again when this book's final page has been 




It is not difficult for us to imagine the joy with 
which in 1778 the brother and sister left Penrith for 
the Cockermouth home, a home surrounded by such 
beauty — a very privacy of charm compared with the 
caravanserai upon the road from the north to London. 
Once more they could sink to sleep nightly with 
Derwent nigh to murmur their cradle songs, songs 
older than the lapsing river's liquid Celtic name, 
songs breathing " the ghostly language of the ancient 
earth." Once more the moody boy could " drink in 
the feelings of his Mother's eye." Abundantly 
Wordsworth's poetry testifies to the passion with 
which he loved that mother, to the spell her tranquil 
nature wove through his being. The poet gives us 
his remembrance of Mrs. Wordsworth in the Prelude 
(v. 256). She was lovable : 

" Not from faculties more strong 
Than others have, but from the times, perhaps, 
And spot in which she lived, and through a grace 
Of modest meekness, simple-mindedness, 
A heart that found benignity and hope, 
Being itself benign." 

The second book of the Prelude tells us how from 
earliest days the child held mute dialogue with this 
mother's heart. To her watchful powers over him 
the poet attributes much of the subtle discriminative 



intuition with which he so early grew to feel the 
manifold distinctions in things that are alike to the 
ordinary eye and ear. 

Mrs. Wordsworth, on a visit to London, caught 
the worst of chills in a " best bed." Returning home- 
wards very ill, she was constrained to break her journey 
at Penrith, and in her father's house she died. " March 
11th, 1778 : Mrs. Wordsworth, wife of John Words- 
worth, Esq., of Cockermouth, aged 30, Buried." So 
runs the chronicle of the Penrith churchyard. That 
churchyard now gives no recognisable sign of Mrs. 
Wordsworth's burial-place. Christopher Wordsworth 
is content to describe her in a few words : " She was 
possessed of piety and wisdom." The only other 
friendly gleam shed upon the lady — apart from 
William's panegyric in poetry and a scarcely articu- 
late sigh for her breathing through Dorothy's letters, 
is the remark of Sarah Hutchinson, that she never 
heard Mrs. Wordsworth mentioned save when, on 
returning from her funeral, Mrs. Hutchinson confessed 
her sense of loss, and sobbed. 

In this same year, 1778, William was sent to 
Hawkshead in company with his younger brother, 
Christopher. Hawkshead, in Lancashire, midway 
between Windermere and the Lake of Coniston, is 
still an almost unsophisticated town of the true plan 
and character belonging to the fell -folk. The inhabi- 
tants of Hawkshead, about 1778, were small land- 
owners, weavers, sheepbreeders, and shopkeepers. A 
newspaper was a curiosity among them, and so was a 
wheeled conveyance, no such carriage being known 
till 1792, in which year the novelty is noticed in the 
town records. Hawkshead is dominated by a church 



— some say, once fortified — which stands high to the 
west of all the houses as if it had shaken them out of 
its lap. This church dates its foundations from 1160, 
the year when Furness Abbey was begun, the present 
walls seeming to belong to a period three hundred 
years later. A great amphitheatre stretches around 
it, an agricultural plateau bounded on the east by 
Claife Heights ; on the south by Furness Fells — 
Morecambe Bay lying just a little beyond ; on the 
west by Coniston Old Man and Brown Pike, the 
Cistercian Abbey of Furness farther off — south-west ; 
on the north by the valley of Brathay River, with a 
far horizon of magnificent peaks, Scawfell, Bow Fell, 
Langdale Pikes, Rydal Fell, and Helvellyn. 

At Cockermouth, the boy Wordsworth had been 
just on the verge of the Lake district, as — largely 
through the poet's own writing — we have come to 
define that area. The Derwent drew its sources from 
that enigmatical land awaiting its seer. The Derwent, 
near Cockermouth, becomes almost a champaign 
stream, and ere it flows past John Wordsworth's 
mansion it is compelled to mirror in its free-born flood 
the still grim though ghostly features of tyranny ; 
Cockermouth Castle is an insistent ruin. The castle 
was not what most invitingly drew the fancy of the 
child. Cockermouth remained in the memory of 
him whose art was recollective, delicious because 
the steady seasons and pure elements here found a 
worthy fellow-labourer — Man, free now — Man, work- 
ing for himself — his wants, occupations and cheerful 
cares "followed by an unsought train of simplicity 
and inevitable grace." 

Penrith was outside the Lake district. Its very 



rivers spent nearly all their strength within the 
ancient limits of Inglewood Forest. By these lovely 
placid waters the Penrith man, although he had be- 
come distinctly cheerful, yet in the process of history 
had acquired a somewhat flatfooted way of going 
about his conquered world. 

At Hawkshead William Wordsworth was in 
every sense withdrawn from the teaching of these 
plains. The market centre of the great Norman settle- 
ment which sprang from Furness Abbey, Hawkshead 
— ancient township of some Norse Haak or Haakon 
— stood three hundred feet above the ocean, surveying 
a kind of country where mankind had never been 
really conquered by monarchs, and where the very 
soil and hills had never been conquered by mankind. 
From Cockermouth, on the north of the true land of 
promise, William Wordsworth now arrived at the 
high vantage ground on the south, as if to view that 
land long, ere going in to possess it. Some Berserker 
founded this town, and brought to the district the 
language and customs of the almost primitive folk 
we still meet in Furness — true Fell people, with 
broad shoulders, arched noses, strong jaws, grey eyes, 
manners of high courtesy. All round, stand those 
often-snowy hilltops with the Celtic names that seem 
to be breathed murmurously from them as soon as we 
look at the sky-tost crags, Glaramara, Rydal,Derwent, 

An Elizabethan gentleman projected something 
greater for Haak's town than anything of which 
Haak himself ever dreamt. This gentleman, born 
at Esthwaite Hall, was Edwin Sandys, who Jbecame 
Archbishop of York. By the Queen's Patent he 

65 E 


founded the Hawkshead Free Grammar School, " Per- 
petuis temporibus futuris duratura," endowed to 
provide for the sons of neighbours unpurchasable in- 
struction in the elements of general knowledge and in 
Latin and in Greek. The schoolmaster and the usher 
were to teach " all such good authors which do contain 
precepts of virtue and good literature for the better 
education of youth, and shall once every week at least 
instruct and examine the scholars in the principles of 
true religion, to the end that they may the better 
know and fear God." 

The property set apart for the endowment of this 
Free School consisted principally of lands in York- 
shire and Westmorland. The affairs of the establish- 
ment were regulated by governors selected from the 
neighbourhood, and sworn to their office as clean 
from all dealings, pecuniary or otherwise, designed to 
procure such an office. In Wordsworth's time, those 
who, like himself, did not belong to the district, were 
charged two guineas quarterly for admission to the 
otherwise free privileges of the school. Side by side 
with the boys of good birth, who procured board 
in one or other of the many dames' houses, ten 
Blue Coat Charity boys — strictly drawn from among 
the children of labourers — received the same chances 
of education. These children of the poor had their 
clothing paid for them — and board in a hostel, if it 
were required. There is happily no sign that much 
friction occurred between the Blue Coats and their 
social superiors. The guess may be hazarded that the 
boy who so skilfully imitated owls on Winander was 
a Blue Coat. We are told that he belonged to the 
Valley, and was eventually buried in the churchyard, 



about the age of twelve. Wordsworth, it will be 
noticed, gives us a verb in one of his Hawkshead 
passages, that is almost his unconscious record of the 
double stream of social life in the school. The fifth 
book of the Prelude (398) says : 

" Even now appears before the mind's clear eye 
That self-same village church ; I see her sit 
(The throned Lady whom erewhile we hailed) 
On her green hill, forgetful of this Boy 
Who slumbers at her feet, — forgetful, too, 
Of all her silent neighbourhood of graves, 
And listening only to the gladsome sounds 
That, from the rural school ascending, play 
Beneath her and about her. May she long 
Behold a race of young ones like to those 
With whom I herded ! " 

Search has been made among the burial records 
in the hope of tracing the young native of the vale 
whose mimicry of the owls is still vocal above the 
grave where he " lies slumbering at the feet " of his 
parish church. The reader, if he be interested in 
such a speculative quest, may choose between these 
entries : 

1779. George Graham Son of Mr. George Gibson, Atturney, 
Dyed June ye 26th. Buried ye 28th aged 12 in ye 
Churchyard. A Fevre. 

1782. John Vickars a Charitv Boy from Cragg died July ye 
28th. Buried ye 30th in Ch-yard. 

This Vickars seems rather the more likely to be the 
simple hero of There was a Boy. In the 1800 edition 
of that poem Wordsworth tells us the boy died at 
the age of ten; but in the 1815 edition the age is 
corrected to " twelve." If this was the true age, and 
Vickars was the boy, he was born in the same year as 



William Wordsworth, and would likely be a class- 
mate of his. Cragg was not part of Hawkshead 
village, but it was part of Hawkshead valley. 
Gibson would belong to the village, probably. As 
for William Raincock of Rayrigg, he may be traced 
from Hawkshead School to St. John's College, Cam- 
bridge, and certainly did not die at ten or twelve, 
and therefore Wordsworth's note prefixed to There 
was a Boy is not meant to indicate more than the 
fact that Raincock was superior in his art even to 
the immortalised Boy. 

The schoolhouse, founded, as we have seen, in 
Elizabeth's reign (the year being 1585), was rebuilt in 
1675 by Daniel Rawlinson, a Grisdale man who had 
achieved fortune in London. The sundial at the door 
is at least as old as Rawlinson's time. In 1891 Colonel 
Sandys, the present owner of Graythwaite, further 
restored the fabric with some freestone quoins ; and 
he supported a public subscription by which was 
built opposite the school a useful, ugly, and officious- 
looking gymnasium, standing between the school and 
the sun. But what matters this now ? Mr. Arthur 
Tucker and the writer, on the day they first visited 
Hawkshead together (each having been individually 
familiar with the spot for many years), saw " Ichabod " 
written up before their eyes. On this 9th day of May, 
1910, they watched a flitting in process at the school- 
master's house, the very house the attractive " Mat- 
thew " of the poem is supposed to have honoured as a 
wayward inhabitant of genius. Modern educational 
methods — how far are Government bureaucrats justi- 
fied in trampling out institutions so dear to proud com- 
munities ? — have taken the life from country Grammar 


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Schools like this. The Hawkshead School has been 
closed. The head master has been pensioned off. On 
this May Monday Matthew's airy home, abandoned 
by the last of the graduate-masters, was handed over 
to a farmer's widow from Coniston, who declared her 
intention of turning the building into a lodging-house. 
" Formerly," said a great-voiced yeoman, witness of 
this scene, "young men came to this school from 
many parts — there were usually even foreigners attend- 
ing the famous school. In Wordsworth's time there 
would be a hundred pupils. Many of them came 
from other towns with scholarships to pay their 
board. Now the district has lost its school: the 
children have been deprived of their inheritance. If 
we have a clever boy or a favourite boy, we are told 
to give him a scholarship to a secondary school, and 
the nearest is the Kelsick School at Ambleside, six 
miles away. The best thing in Hawkshead, next 
to the Church of God, has been allowed to die." 

It is ended, then, the school that trained the 
brains and fed the heart of William Wordsworth, the 
school amply endowed by an archbishop, lover of 
posterity, to carry out to perpetuity his great Queen's 
behest for the boys of his native region. Our wisdom 
has made the school an empty barrack and the 
masters' home a lodging-house. 

It will be strange if America does not cry out 
upon England for suffering this to be. 




" For other things," Emerson cried, " I make poetry 
of them ; but the moral sentiment makes poetry of 
me." External nature made poetry out of Words- 
worth, rather than suffered itself to be carved and 
burnished by him into poetry, in the pseudo-classical 
manner. When we are young, we think that beauty 
in the human countenance is feature. Growing 
older, we learn that it is expression. Atmospheric 
conditions are so peculiar in Westmorland and 
Cumberland and the borders of these counties that 
the hills in them seem always to be thinking : their 
supreme charm lies not in outline but in expression ; 
or one may put it thus, their beauty is alive with 
a mysterious power to raise curiosity in the most 
reverent recesses of the human mind. If ever there 
was a land illustrative of visual language, it is this 
land. Hence our painters have nearly all retired from 
it defeated — or else, forewarned, have shunned it. 
Some one asked Sir Joshua Reynolds if he had ever 
tried to paint a blush. " Yes," he replied, "and I 
only produced redness." The steady power of these 
fitfully-lit hills to suggest wonder to all who have 
thoughtfully lived among them is, we may take it, 
what came to Wordsworth. He did not invent it. He 



realised it — and in childhood, for it was as a boy that 
he drank in to the finest fibres of his heart impres- 
sions no more his absolute creation than the prismatic 
lights that come to an opened oyster-shell are the 
creation of the oyster. The record of Wordsworth's 
impressions is his poetry. The impressions sent forth 
are Nature's poetry. All that is deepest in Words- 
worth's writings appeals to sensitive minds, not as 
creation that, however interesting, is individual and 
arbitrary, but as revelation of law, and even beauty 
as language of law, in the realms of nature external 
to man ; law that is clearer to most minds, when 
a poet has given it human words ; but law more 
eternal, more basic, than the whole mind of mankind ; 
a law that must be faced, and harmonised with any 
theology to which we turn for soul-sustenance ; a law 
as far transcending the idea that God cares only for 
what man thinks in His universe, as the inexhaustible 
power of suggestion in the wind transcends the com- 
pass of a sigh or a song. In a page of the Koran, 
we find Mahommed, on an unclouded Eastern night, 
looks up to the skies for a thought, and hears the 
Almighty whisper, " Thinkest thou that I made all 
these stars in jest ? " We may carry the thought 
from the night into the day : Thinkest thou that 
God creates these countless combinations that we call 
loveliness only for the pleasure of casually percipient 
man ? Is God to make no loveliness for Himself, or 
for created beings invisible to us, higher than we are, 
aye, or even for beings lower in certain attributes — 
loveliness that may have combinations, relations, per- 
mutations too subtle for us ? Stand here and look across 
Windermere to Furness Fells. At your elbow a bee 



murmurs in its chosen foxglove. The bee thinks the 
bell is for bees — and so it is ; but for bees only ? Is 
the bell just a factory or a food-shop ? The bee, 
little recking how God uses it to fertilise the world 
with blossom of beauty, as little recks of its own ex- 
quisite suggestiveness to you, when you gaze across 
these Fells and remember how Wordsworth taught 
from them and Ruskin wrote in their shadow. The 
bee's notion of bells being made wholly for bees to 
interpret, is just as true and as false as the idea that 
the Creator fashions what we term beauty and poetical 
suggestion — visual language — only for human beings, 
and that beauty stops at the point where mankind 
ceases to perceive any beauty. The highest value of 
the bee to you is that, admirably clever as you must 
confess it, you realise that it flits through a world 
largely unrealised by it. The bee and you in your two 
degrees are alike in these flittings, limited through 
the limitless. 

Holding our " Wordsworth way " of reaching to- 
wards the gospel of beauty, and holding that Words- 
worth bowed down to Nature as a better poet than 
Man, we may go on to suggest that Hawkshead School 
realised this, perhaps but dimly, before Wordsworth 
was permitted to see its walls. The directors of 
the Hawkshead Grammar School were seemingly 
carrying out a system which gave Wordsworth eyes 
and ears hardly less than Dorothy did — developed in 
him powers of just discrimination and exquisite divi- 
nation quite as cleverly as Dr. Bowyer at Christ's 
Hospital taught Coleridge how to recognise the highest 
when he met it. The Hawkshead School policy was 
this — Nature is the greatest Head Master; and the 



best Usher to help Nature in educating man is the 
Universal in Literature. In a very amphitheatre 
of beauty, the masters of the Hawkshead School 
gave their boys the amplest opportunity of scouring 
heaven's free wilderness — the moors of Hawkshead 
and Yewdale, and the sands of Ulverston, and the 
lakes of Esthwaite and AYindermere. No master or 
usher went with these bands of bovs on their ad- 
ventures. Certain wide bounds being assigned to 
them, the lads were put on their honour to behave as 
scholars and young gentlemen. The Rev. T. H. 
Baines, in whose company this theory — if it be worth 
such a name — was lately opened up by the writer, re- 
called that when his father, the Rev. H. T. Baines, was 
head master of this same school from 1860 to 1884, 
that was the policy he carried out, most likely from 
tradition. Out of school hours and on holidays he 
allowed the boys to wander free within these geo- 
graphical limits : Skelwith Bridge to the north ; 
Windermere to the east ; Newby Bridge to the 
south ; Coniston Lake to the west. 

Two years ago the writer was browsing on books 
in a Windermere friend's library, when he chanced to 
take down from the shelf a slim volume entitled 
The Minstrels of Winandermere. Opening it, he found 
" W. Wordsworth " inscribed on the title-page. The 
house in which this discovery occurred is Rayrigg 
Hall, associated closely with much that was signifi- 
cant in the story of Westmorland, and once the home 
of John Fleming, our poet's schoolfellow. This book, 
besides the signature, bears only two markings from 
Wordsworth's pen, and these of no importance. Yet 
the volume, which was probably given by Wordsworth 



to John Fleming in memory of old days, is occupied 
with descriptions of the Hawkshead schoolboys, theii 
journeys, their pranks, and their songs. It consists oi 
a series of poems bearing some traces, principally 
in the versification, of Burns's influence, but contain- 
ing no allusion to Wordsworth, and exhibiting no sign 
that the author had either read or heard of Words- 
worth. Who wrote this volume of verse that Words- 
worth thought worth the possessing ? Charles Farish, 
who graduated RA. in 1788 and B.D. in 1799, at 
Cambridge, and became a Wrangler, and Fellow of 
Queens' College in that University. He had received 
his earlier education at Hawkshead Grammar School, 
in the flight of boys contemporaneous with Richard 
Wordsworth, and slightly overlapping the period of 
William. From Farish's introductory note we learn 
that his book appeared in the year 1811. By that 
year the final lines of the Prelude were five years old, 
though unpublished. Thus we have in Farish an 
author writing, after Wordsworth had produced 
several volumes, in seeming unconsciousness of 
Wordsworth as a poet, and himself depicting events 
of Hawkshead school life that happened just before 
any scenes described in An Evening Walk or the 
Prelude. The great work of Wordsworth and the 
little work of Farish are, it would appear, independent 
of each other, just as their authors seem to have lived 
apart. Yet in choice of subjects, and especially in 
detail, Mr. Farish shows a love of Nature fresh among 
English writers, except for Wordsworth's unused 
example. Moreover, some of the poems indicate that 
Hawkshead boys studied literature. A song put into 
the mouth of one boy is in Latin Sapphics. There 



was no Classical Tripos for which to work in those 
days, yet here we have a boy at school in Hawkshead 
supposed to be capable of singing a song — a very 
religious one, as it happens — in Latin verse of a diffi- 
cult sort. 

Farish with every sign of zest chronicles the free 
forays of his comrades and himself into Westmorland. 
Late one evening the schoolboys start homewards 
from Rydal, by way of Ambleside and haunted Cul- 
garth. In a mist, the round house on Curwen's Isle 
looks like a Danish fort, or like the massy Danish 
church tower of Bartlow, " from which the curfew- 
ringer scatters, with his swinging lantern, a golden 
shower into the night " : 

" But hark to Rayrigg's lowing bull : 
There is a charm in yonder sound : 
It tells of peace and milk-pails full : 
Wild echo sends the menace round. 

'Tis thrift and peace, mind's music meet ! 

Mild Wilberforce, ere he remov'd 
Tombuctoo's wrongs, sought this retreat ; 

Winander's peaceful vale he lov'd. 

Do yonder fires dismay the sight, 

The furzy mountain's blazing side ? — 

No bale-fire e'er appall'd the night 
With hideous glare, so broad, so wide. 

And yet 'twas but a shepherd's boy 

That watched the wind's uncertain turn, 

Apply 'd the spark with wanton joy, 
Blowing the turf to make it burn. 

On blooming heath, on furze, on brake, 
The crackling torrent feeds for miles : 

The boatman on Winander Lake 
Sees the inverted blaze, and smiles. 



But who shall smile when yonder oak, 
And all its fair companions fall ? — 

Sad echoes watch that woodman's stroke 
Whose weeding-hook is laid on all. 

Three hundred years the butt of storm, 
That sapling would become a tree. — 

Ah ! spare a few of goodliest form, 
The rest shall glut thy axe and thee. 

Tho' Furness Abbey boast an ore 

Richer than Gustaf Vasa saw, 
When that same hand the pick-axe bore 

Whose Swedish sabre ruFd the law : 

Tho' smelting fires flame in the vale, 
And iron mills benight the mead, 

And — (black the air, like Colebrook-dale) — 
Furness be furnace fells indeed ; 

Yet why should every sapling fall, 

To build those smouldering charcoal fires ? 

Why is the axe laid loose on all ? 

— Hide, sods, the forest's funeral-pyres ! 

Bark every branch and strip it bare ; 

Pile the lopt faggots close and round ; 
Bring sward enough, lest the rough air 

Of heaven should visit that sad ground. 

Beneath his hills of earth he lies ! 

In him an embryo-navy burns ! 
Sad are the forest's obsequies ! 

Sepulchral smoke invests his urns ! 

Unlike, that fire of shepherd boy 

Which gaily trick'd the mountain's side, 

When heath and furze expir'd in joy, 
While upward roll'd the harmless tide ! 

On that sing'd mountain black and bare 
Soon shall a richer sward be seen : 

Hatch'd by warm Kelp, the daisy there 
Shall gaily warp that woof of green. 


When twice seven times Helvellyn's snow 

Beneath the dog-star shall expire, 
Yon wood again shall be laid low, 

Again shall feed the smelting-fire. 

The hop-weed climbing on the hedge, 
If pluck 'd, returning summer brings: 

When forests feel the axe's edge 
Slowly their former vigour springs. 

Ere oaks, like these, again shall give 
Their beauties to Winander's wave ; 

Ere there again such shadows live, 

And there such sylvan honors lave, [text imperfect?] 

The Great boat shall be heard to go, 

Thro 1 the cold night, from shore to shore, 

While freezing ice and melting snow 
Press heavy on the restless oar : 

Nor yet the boatman's task be done, — 

He dips his hands into the tide, 
And heaves huge ice-boards, one by one, 

Heaping a wall on either side ; 

Winning his way across the lake, 

With battering maul and iron crow ; 

The ice still closing in his wake, 

In one the knitting fragments grow. 

And when these arts will serve no more, 
With hawser and with rustic sleight 

He slides the ponderous boat ashore : 
The kneeling camel ships her freight. 

On Bowness point, the blacksmith's shed 
Once mark'd the course he had to steer, 

With its pale light : — the blacksmith's dead — 
But still the boatman's Ian thorn's there." 

On another occasion the boys come down to 
survey Winander's steaming clouds from the " Octa- 



gon." As they cross in the small ferry-boat, the school- 
boys tell George, the boatman, of their destination — 
Ings Church, with its rich marbles. George is full of 
his own lore. He lifts his finger towards Eagle Crag, 
near which the char lie fifty fathom deep. He rouses 
his charges with the story of Long Island — Curwen's 
Island — and its nine days' defence by Philipson 
against the Cromwellians. But George likes Crow- 
holm still better, just because that little isle is inno- 
cent of blood. There the ferryman recalls the troops 
of boats that long ago dipt oars toward the shrine of 
Mary on Ladyholm. A boy sings a song of the 
water-hen that builds her nest upon the wave and 
moors it to a willow tree. Another boy sings of 
the Three Sister- Lakes. Coniston-mere reverberates 
with quarry-thunder that startles the diver bird on 
Devock, makes the fields of Earnsley quake and re- 
member last year's wounds from the plough, and 
rouses to merriment the " Old Man," ore-ribbed, 
shaking a tarn in his lap. Ullswater must not envy 
Windermere its char of the lovely fin. It possesses 
Airey Force and its pool of silver trout : Helvellyn 
seeks for it heaven's dew, and every fleecy cloud 
that Kirkstone wooes is wrung for Ullswater — Ulls- 
water of the early harvests and the fair crag-forms 
and the woods of Gowbarrow nursed into dark beauty 
by storms. Winander has sorrows all her own. 
Ambleside may sing roundelays, while everywhere 
there is secret mourning for the vanished Roman 
town that once was there. Rothay may laugh, but 
Brathay pours an ever-flowing madrigal for Dictis ; 
in memory of Dictis the trees of Brathay gather tears ; 
Elter-water is Dictis's lachrymal : from Langdale, for 



Dictis, drift tears of sphered ice. Now sings a loving 
urchin to a mate bound for the other side of the 
earth. Must you seek a land where there is not, as 
here, that gentle sleep of Nature called Winter ? 
Will you lurk, panting, in some rocky retreat, winning 
revival from the sea-breeze that " shakes from his 
wings the moisture of the wave " ? Then, amid such 
torrid placidity, remember a stormy day when we 
raced upon this lake with all the raptures of the storm. 
Remember how the drifting wind " unfleeced the 
shuddering earth," while ice-covered Esthwaite could 
be heard deep-muttering a boding sound. Haply 
we yet again may listen together to the brawl of 
Esthwaite hastening to the Lake of Char, past the 
boulders of Ouse, under the alders of Graythwaite, 
the branches of which hide the foaming flood, and 
down the Lin to which she tunes her echoes, the 
Lin that bears the name of our founder, Sandys's 

One further section of this work shall here be 
quoted without paraphrase. Here is a scene that 
must have been " Wordsworthian," thoroughly, before 
Wordsworth was born. Let this picture suffice to 
close our claim that the free life accorded to Hawks- 
head schoolboys was unique in its time. 

The Minstrel of the Ferry, — As the boat nears 
the southern shore, George warns his boyish crew : 

" ' Boys, throw no stones at Rayrigg's bull, 
Nor break the churches painted glass. 1 

At Ings the little troop divide : 

Part stay and rest their weary limbs, 

The other, with elastic stride, 

Up Kentmere's vale and mountain climbs. 


From Ylbel's top or from High Street, 
They mark Hawes- water, stretching near, 

And Kirkstone's towering bonnet great, 
The pride of loveliest Ullesmere. 

And Lowthers 1 thicken'd woods they see, 
Where herds of high-bred horses rov'd 

Behind their chiefs, untam'd and free, 
Leading the tartar-life they lov'd. 

Their schoolboy sports are now begun ; 

Sisyphean rocks roll down the steep ; 
The sheep alarm'd, tho" distant, run : 

Each adds a stone to YlbePs heap." 

When all are reassembled in the valley, they hear and 
applaud the heroic conduct of Bernard Gilpin of Kent- 
mere, " untamed in faith by Bishop Bonner's fires." 
Having journeyed by Kendal Castle to Bowness, 
the troop, under the dead blacksmith's wall, raise per- 
sistent shouts across the lake for the ferryman. Travel- 
lers on the other side, descending the hills in the dark 
towards the wharf, call out, and the schoolboys make 
a game of putting names to the voices. The carrier 
arrives and sings a song, none too refined. Then the 
carrier stops short, crying, " Enough ; we must now 
work, for here comes the ferry ! " 

" George toughly plies the measured oar, 
Tho" hardly to the eye he moves ; 
His light, receding from the shore, 

Seems loth to leave the house he loves. 

Straightway the busy crew prepare 

To wheel the carts on board the boat ; 

George soon arrives, and first with care, 
He trims his lanthorn near the hut. 


' My little lighthouse,' George then said, 
' I've known thee on a stormy night, 

When snows fell heavy on thy head, 
Tho' buried, still to keep thy light.' 

A student then from Granta tells 

Of one eight days beneath the snows ; 

And twice she heard the Sabbath bells, 
Yet lived six months, as Histon knows. 

But little do the bustling crew 

The student and his wonders heed ; 

Intent their business each pursue ; 

George takes his oar and off they speed ; 

6 Bowness, good-night,' the carrier said, 

' If the mist take us in the main, 
I would not answer with my head, 

But we may all come back again.' 

* Aye, that we may, beyond a doubt,' 

Says George, ' I've sometimes labour'd back 

Thrice to the spot whence I set out, 
The mist has been so thick and black. 

4 At last I've made my daughter call, 
And shap'd my compass by her voice ; 

And now her song shall charm us all, 
For she's the compass of my choicp.' 

6 Right,' says the carrier, ' she shall sing 

Her father's welcome to his inn : 
Boys, are your heads beneath your wing ? 

'Tis time our pastimes should begin.' 

4 Now lift the light,' the boatman says, 
And calls aloud, ' A song, a song ! 

His daughter saw the signal blaze, 
And heard her father's accents strong. 

With cheerful haste his Edith came 

Obedient to her father's will, 
Her fluttering apron round the flame 

Rashly extending, but with skill. 

81 F 


Hidden her comb : her yellow hair, 

Wound round her head, was braided tight ; 

Dubious, by starts, the flickering flare 
Gave her full beauties to the night. 

Beneath the Great Boat tree she stood, 
The glimmering leaves a glory shed ; 

Save at her feet the dashing flood 

And leaflets whispering o'er her head, 

No voice was heard, except the roar 
Of distant waters down the Llyn ; 

The Great Boat slumber'd on its oar, 
And still was every voice within. 

The Minstrel of Winandermere 
In low and simple measure sung, 

Her accents but the music were 

To grace the words that on it hung. 

Nothing was there to draw the mind 
From the full meaning of her song ; 

Closely was sense with sound combin'd 
And measured clauses left her tongue. 

The tune, adjusted to the words, 
With timid awe its distance kept, 

Never intruding useless chords : 

The subject ne'er the queen out-stept. 

Her music was the voice of soul, 
And spoke to mind and not to ear ; 

The hearer while he felt it whole, 
Yet hardly ever seem'd to hear. 

The mind on meaning fully bent, 

Sound was discarded from the thought ; 

Yet still the music was not shent 
But fuller on the soul it wrought. 

Felt was the arrow of her song 
The more for seeing not the bow ; 

Like mallet on the sounding gong, 

ThrillM thro' the soul her accents low. 


Every pause had measure due ; 

The words and music jointly wrought ; 
Every word had accent true ; 

Strength was in combination sought. 

The according muscles of her song, 

Wrought more by their combin'd effect, 

Than falling from the finest tongue, 
Had words from music met neglect. 

Tis consort that gives music sway, 
The wedded love of song and sense ; 

Sense rules because song will obey, 

Song rules the more from this obedience. 

The Great Boat rested on its oars 

Whenever she the tune began ; 
But ere the close, round answering shores, 

Low voice of oars in descant ran. 

The nickering light the motion caught, 

The feet obedient measure kept; 
By nature and her father taught, 

The sober Dance of Oars she stept ! 

But ever, at the closing note, 

Silence again his sceptre sway'd, 
Echo was hush'd, and in the boat, 

No sound was heard — nor dancM the maid." 

The subject here presented by Farish — not with- 
out carelessnesses in expression — belongs to the same 
order of experience and feeling as Wordsworth's night 
idyll about the school urchins putting forth home- 
wards from Bowness, after an afternoon of boisterous 
sports, and tarrying to land the Minstrel of the Troop 
on a little island (probably Rampholm) and rowing 
away gently to hear him blow his flute alone upon 
the rock. 

Are we not compelled to see, in such descriptions 
as these quoted from Farish, a state of mind, raised 
by the intermingling of honest mankind with honest 
nature, only in intensity differing from frequent states 



of Wordsworth's mind ? And do not these passages 
breathe from an ample, simple life, which schoolboys 
could enjoy only under an unusually wise dispensation? 
The supposition that there was a kind of Words- 
worthian life and thought — inspired by Lakeland — 
before Wordsworth, is somewhat strengthened by the 
following lines. The Wordsworth family permits 
their being here printed, for the first time, from a letter 
of the poet's to Mr. Seymour Tremenherne, December 
16, 1845, regarding certain reports to the Council of 
Education : — 

" Generation after generation will, I trust, start from a 
higher point than the preceding one. . . . Let me ask you, 
dear Sir, whether throughout the Minutes too little value is 
not set upon the occupations of children out of doors, under 
the direction, or by the permission, of their Parents, com- 
paratively with what they do or acquire at school ? Is not the 
knowledge inculcated by the Teacher or derived under his 
management from books too exclusively dwelt upon, so as 
almost to put out of sight that which comes, without being 
sought for, from intercourse with nature and from experience 
in the actual employments and duties which a child's situation 
in the country, however unfavourable, will lead him to or im- 
pose upon him ? How much of what is precious comes into 
our minds, in all ranks of society, not as knowledge entering 
formally in the shape of knowledge, but as infused thro"* the 
constitution of things and by the grace of God ! There is no 
condition of life, however unpromising, that does not daily 
exhibit something of this truth. I do not relish the words of 
one of the Reporters (Mr. Allen, I believe, whose notices 
are generally very valuable) in which he would reconcile the 
Parents to the expense of having their children educated in 
school by remarking that the wear and tear of clothes will be 
less ; and an equivalent thus saved, and in shoe leather. Excuse 
this disagreement in opinion, as coming from one who spent 
half of his boyhood in running wild among the Mountains. 

It struck me also that, from the same cause, too little 
attention is paid to books of imagination, which are eminently 
useful in calling forth intellectual power. We must not only 


V. » 

CO •** 

co =i 

* s 




have knowledge but the means of wielding it, and that is done 
infinitely more thro' the imaginative faculty assisting both in 
the collection and [in the] application of facts than is generally 
believed. But I must conclude. — Believe me, my dear Sir, 
sincerely your much obliged, Wm. Wordsworth. 

Just as Wordsworth read The Minstrels of Win- 
andermere without hinting, on the margins of his copy 
or anywhere in the book, that Farish was indebted 
to him for example — or was even personally known 
to him— so Farish produced his work without one 
direct or indirect reference to the schoolfellow whom 
we should have supposed it natural for him to men- 
tion. Yet intimacy between these authors had not 
ceased with life at school. The Minstrels of Win- 
andermere is quoted in the Guide to the Lakes, and 
in a note to Guilt and Sorrow the author of that 
poem speaks of Charles Farish as his schoolfellow 
and friend. It is therefore open to any one to con- 
jecture that Farish would never have composed his 
Minstrels of Winandermere if Wordsworth had not 
previously composed his Evening Walk. But a 
reading of Farish's book will almost certainly con- 
vey to the mind an impression that Farish thought 
in complete detachment from Wordsworth. Indeed, 
Farish's preface indicates that he put the last touches 
to his verses long before their publication. So The 
Minstrels may have been written before An Evening 
Walk — nay, for the matter of that, may just possibly in 
some form have been read aloud to Wordsworth at 
Cambridge, by the elder youth hailing from Hawks- 
head School, ere An Evening Walk was conceived. 
Were this possibility a probability, the absence of 
Wordsworth's name from Farish's book might bear a 
new significance. 




The first glimpse we have of Wordsworth as an 
eight-year-old newcomer in the Hawkshead Grammar 
School is distinctly associated with literature. 

The books chiefly studied by our boy poet, per- 
mitted though they were at the hands of his superiors, 
were masterpieces, but right battering rams against 
chivalry and sentimentalism — Don Quixote, Gil Bias, 
Gulliver's Travels, and Torn Jones. Yet the boy 
also loved The Arabian Nights, and in the fifth 
book of the Prelude (50) we are told how, by Ulver- 
ston Sands, the boy dreamt of an Arabian chevalier 
who rode up to him bearing a stone and a shell. 
The stone turned into Euclid's Elements and the 
shell into a book uttering unknown harmonies. The 
Arab was on his way to secrete both of these tables 
written by the finger of mighty Man — secrete them 
for safety against impending destruction. One 
scripture was fitted to hold acquaintance with the 
stars and wed reason to reason, but the other work 
was a god-book, yea a many-god-book, with voices 
more various than all the winds, to exhilarate and 
solace mankind ; yet when this god-book was brought 
before the dreamer for a moment, a prophetic blast 
sounded in his ears a kind of chant of doom and 
deluge. Away rode the Arab with his treasures, in 
quest of burial for them. The dreamer kept pace 



with the armed Eastern. Lo, the Eastern, looking 
behind him towards the child, revealed Don Quixote's 
face — and sped along the illimitable wastes of sand, 
with the " fleet waters of a drowning world in chase 
of him." 

This fifth book of the Prelude is Wordsworth's 
attempt to value Literature as compared with Nature 
and with Religion. His youth was spent under the 
educative power of wonder. He protests against 
coercive, rigid plans of "practical instruction," and 
is thankful that his early days were spent 

" Safe from an evil which these days have laid 
Upon the children of the land, a pest 
That might have dried me up, body and soul." (227) 

Books, freely loved, are felt by youth, however dimly, 

to be 

" Powers 
For ever hallowed ; only less, 
For what we are and what we may become, 
Than Nature's self, which is the breath of God." (218) 

Two thoughts come to the poet about the might 
of literature — one inspiring, the other alarming. 
The first thought is (29) that though the whole frame 
of earth were blasted and ocean's bed lay singed and 

" Yet would the living Presence still subsist 
Victorious, and composure would ensue, 
And kindlings like the morning." (36) 

The spirit of Nature would persist. The consolation 
of this idea is tempered by a second reflection, upon the 
frail tenure upon immortality of Bard and Sage (54) : 

" Oh, why hath not the Mind 
Some element to stamp her image on, 


In nature somewhat nearer to her own ? 
Why, gifted with such powers to send abroad 
Her spirit, must it lodge in shrines so frail?" (45) 

Mathematical knowledge (the stone under the Arab- 
Quixote's arm) — is even that to fail ? And Poesy ? 
It is the shell which, taken from the Arab's hand, 
utters affrighting music predictive of an end to all 
lovely thinking on earth. From it issued 

" An unknown tongue, 
Which yet I understood, articulate sounds, 
A loud prophetic blast of harmony ; 
An Ode, in passion uttered, which foretold 
Destruction to the children of the earth 
By deluge, now at hand." (9S) 

The thought is enough to make the youthful poet 
wish himself safe from reason in innocent unreason 
of the Quixote sort, as he contemplates a treasured 
volume in his hand — 

" Poor earthly casket of immortal verse, 
Shakspeare or Milton, labourers divine ! " (164) 

Up to that time in Wordsworth's life, no criti- 
cism had appeared showing the solvent nature of 
Cervantes's ironic tale. The dream of the world's 
Chivalry engulfed, like Ulverston Sands, by the 
" fleet waters of a drowning world " was a miracle of 
child-intuition. But it was more. It was a prophecy 
of amazing connection with coincidence ; for, years 
afterwards, when fresh from France's Revolution, 
Wordsworth, pacing these very Sands of Ulverston, 
met a stranger whose greeting was " Robespierre is 
dead ! " This seemed a moment's glad respite from 
the fleet waters. The Quixote- Arab dream, we are 
told, often recurred to its dreamer in his early youth. 
The figure gradually became that of a gentle dweller 



in the desert, crazed with love and sympathy and self- 
communings too protracted. Word sworth revered this 
personage, did not pity him ; had moods in which he 
would have chosen him as one to lead him through the 
wilds. We shall see that Wordsworth was at Hawks- 
head in company with human beings — " Matthew " 
and the " Solitary " of The Yew Tree Seat — whose 
tensely strung natures were at times pure-fantastical, 
and probably protestant towards reigning convention- 
alities. We cannot doubt that influences from such lives 
would convey themselves into the boy's mind, till Don 
Quixote sometimes appeared a breathing guide through 
deserts of vision. Nor is it to be doubted that Words- 
worth, all through youth, had his own private inherit- 
ance of almost mad obsessions with which to fight — 
dread storms of character attending the play of light. 
He had hardly been a week at Hawkshead when, one 
evening, walking alone by Esthwaite, he stumbled 
on a heap of clothes belonging to some bather. But 
no bather was to be seen. Next day (mark here the 
usual freedom of the Hawkshead schoolboy) Words- 
worth formed one of an anxious crowd that for hours 
awaited results from grappling operations in the lake. 
At last, where all the surroundings were so fair, the 
dead man rose bolt upright from the ooze, his pallid 
face a shape of spectral terror. Yet Wordsworth re- 
collects himself as unmoved by any soul-debasing fear, 
for already such sights " among the shining streams of 
romance had fed his inward eye." Not in vain was 
it that the Spirit of the Universe interwined this dark 
strain among the passions that built up his soul. It 
is from these Hawkshead days, we must remember, 
that the Ode on Intimations of Immortality from 



Recollections of Early Childhood derives much of its 

While thus following Nature to her secret springs, 
the child passed from one to the other of three phases. 
There was, first, the phase of pure joy in a world 
almost supernal : a splendour in the grass ; a glory in 
the flowers ; a development or increase of the child's 
entrancement at Cockermouth, where his thoughts 
coursed " light as the wind along the grass." Upon a 
jutting eminence of Esthwaite the Hawkshead school- 
boy would stand alone, impassioned and entranced, 
and a holy calm would come upon him till bodily eyes 
were forgotten, what he actually gazed at appearing to 
be something in himself, a dream, a prospect of the 
mind. Such was the time of utmost exultation in the 
poet's being — of radiance from within that never was 
on sea or land, and that already, as Professor Knight 
indicates, had passed away when the Ode was actually 
written as a recollection (in tranquillity). The Ode 
is a residuum from a prolonged ecstasy of childhood. 
Similar possession of the sensibilities of childhood 
by the breathings of beauty given forth by Earth 
conveys extraordinary power to the poems of the 
seventeenth-century writer, Thomas Traherne. If 
ever there was Wordsworthian thought before Words- 
worth, here it is {see Note). Much of the content of 
Wordsworth's Ode is to be found in Traherne's The 
Preparation. The best way of training oneself to 
understand Wordsworth's first and most powerful 
phase, would be to read through Traherne's poems. 
Yet Wordsworth never saw them : they were rescued 
for the world by Mr. E. T. Dobell and Mr. H. I. Bell, 
only recently. 



Secondly, there was the phase wherein fits of pas- 
sion drew the young dreamer towards mere anarchy. 
Freedom was, to this creature, uncharted; it was a 
tempest, a redundant energy, vexing its own creation 
{Prelude, i. 37). We shall meet this strain of sullen, 
solitary, inexpressible self-torment all through the 
youth of Wordsworth. He who divines Wordsworth 
as a poet born wisely passive to beauty guesses badly. 
On Hawkshead Moor this poet, like his Tuscan fore- 
runner, had seen hell; in his own fashion he had 
passed through the consecration of being " with the 
wild beasts." We must not forget the story of the 
foil, and the story of the whipped portraits, from 
Penrith days. At Hawkshead there were moments 
when the child of imagination, contemplating in sober- 
ness the approach of madness, could almost, in delight, 
unite his lot with the inspiration of the maniac and 
freely go with him upon his wildered errand. No 
poet, perhaps, with more difficulty learnt self-control ; 
though few poets learnt it more completely. He 
was to show, as no other English poet but Milton 
did so thoroughly, that life is a vision of the noblest 
realities. " He wrote as he lived, and lived as he 
wrote. His poetry had its heart in his life, and 
his life found its voice in his poetry." Thus did 
Christopher Wordsworth truly write of his uncle's 
austere governance of his life and his imaginative 

The third phase in the formation of the poet's 
power was the metaphysical mood, no longer impul- 
sively unquestioning, when shades of the prison house 
began to close upon the youth. He could no longer 
lapse like Derwent River from one cool loveliness to 



another, at ease in the external world. The reader 
will presently be asked to note what a break there 
is between this lapsing from one cool loveliness to 
another in The Evening Walk (our Chapter XII.) 
and the harmonising of the deeper throbbings of 
Man's spirit with Nature's music, in the later poems 
of Wordsworth. The problem of man's under-soul 
stirred him, with the " blank misgivings of a creature 
moving about in worlds not realised" (Ode, 145). It 
is this metaphysical experience that raises Words- 
worth so far above Keats, not as a songster, but as an 
interpreter of the passion of life — of the still sad music 
of humanity. On Hawkshead Moor, let the student 
read all the famous Ode, to ponder these three 
phases. Then let him turn to the fifth book of the 
Prelude, there noticing first the opening lines that 
so tragically discuss this antithesis between seemingly 
cool external nature and the perfervid spirit of man, 
the observer; and, secondly, noting the mastered 
sanity with which Wordsworth addresses Coleridge 
(230) upon the privilege they both had enjoyed, as 
boys, of ranging over the surface of nature and 
through the records of man's spirit, free to drink in 
all, up to the measure of their native capacities. 

Study proves it hopeless to try to construct a diary 
or year-book of the schoolboy's mind at Hawkshead, 
so as to mark each stage in the fusing of these moods. 
The first mood was the predominant one. Perhaps 
the later two phases were somewhat helped towards 
light by the Recluse of The Yew Tree Seat. A 
common path, now enclosed, skirted the eastern side 
of Esthwaite Lake, and was the favourite evening 
walk of the boys. Not far from this path, and on 



the main road, is a tree still shown as Wordsworth's 
Yew ; but the real yew (long gone) stood forty yards 
nearer Hawkshead. It was reckoned exactly a mile 
distant from the village. Upon a seat constructed 
under this yew, William often held converse with 
a world-embittered individual who had received a 
university education, and who possessed a small 
estate in the neighbourhood. 

Wordsworth penned this note in explanation of 
The Yew Tree Seat:— 

"The individual whose habits and character are here given 
was a gentleman of the neighbourhood, a man of talent and 
learning, who had been educated at one of our universities, and 
returned to pass his time in seclusion on his own estate. He 
died a bachelor in middle age. Induced by the beauty of the 
prospect, he built a small summer house on the rocks above the 
peninsula on which the Ferry House stands. This property 
afterwards passed into the hands of the late Mr. Gulden." 

The Claife Inclosure Act of 1799 distributed tracts 
of the eastern side of the lake to a number of land- 
holders ; and these awards were set forth on a series 
of official maps. It is a pleasure to the author to re- 
member the courtesy of Mr. W. Heelis, solicitor, who 
in his Hawkshead office displayed the documents and 
charts connected with this Act. Then and there, amid 
the musty parchments, the Recluse of The Yew Tree 
Seat was tracked down — the Rev. William Braith- 
waite, of Satterhow, who by this Act of 1799 acquired 
the land on which he shortly afterwards erected the 
summer-house. On the same day the burial registers 
of Hawkshead rendered up this entry : " The Rev. 
William Braithwaite of Satterhowe, Master of Arts, 
Vicar of Risely in Bedfordshire and Vicar of Burton 



Petwarden in Lincolnshire, Dyed at Hawkshead on 
the 8th day of Febry. 1800 and was buried in the 
Church on the 12th, Aged 46." This, then, is the 
Recluse of The Yew Tree Seat : the individual from 
whom Curwen bought " The Station," and who died a 
bachelor in middle age. The Braithwaites are a nume- 
rous clan about Hawkshead and Kendal. The clan 
came from Iceland and settled first at Satterhow, near 
Windermere. The Recluse possessed this ancestral 
settlement of the Braithwaites, and inhabited a hall 
of the Tudor period, now absolutely decayed and 
deserted, as forlorn a domestic ruin as may be found 
in Lakeland. Every traveller from the Ferry 
to Hawkshead can see this stricken building on 
the left, just after passing the southerly road to 

The embittered, middle-aged philosopher depicted 
in The Yew Tree Seat stands out as probably the first 
human character the poet tried to sketch. The bees 
shunned this Hawkshead yew tree. Its poisonous 
effect on cattle was eventually to lead to its uprooting. 
The middle-aged gentleman had piled a couch of 
stones under it, training mosses to spread over the 
stones, and the tree's branches to weave a protecting 
roof and eaves. He had gone forth to the world, in 
youth, dowered with genius, and proof in his purity 
of heart against jealousy and hate, but not against 
indifference. It was neglect from the world of culture 
(says the poem) that drove him to frequent this lonely 
loveliness, companion to the straggling sheep, the 
stone-chat and the glancing sand-piper. The younger 
genius learnt a fruitful lesson from this somewhat 
morbid companionship. The healthy boy's mind was 



able to perceive that however disguised, pride is 

littleness — 

" True dignity abides with him alone 
Who, in the silent hour of inward thought, 
Can still suspect, and still revere himself, 
In lowliness of heart." 

We can scarcely ponder too long The Yew Tree 
Seat. It was composed in part at school at Hawks- 
head : the date of completion is given as 1795 : and 
by 1795 Wordsworth had undergone the shock and 
training of the French preparations for Revolution. 
Possibly the opening lines, with their commonplace 
thought of" no sparkling rivulet spreading the verdant 
herb," may be all remaining of the schoolboy's com- 
position ; but this is unlikely. It is much more likely 
that the poem, although a rewritten and strengthened 
thing, is based on the vital sketch by the schoolboy. 
If so, we are arrested by a plan of thought instinct 
with nobility, and unaffected in its language : the 
musing of one willing enough to spend an hour listen- 
ing to the " curling waves that by the soft impulse 
save the mind from vacancy ; " and yet one who, even 
when Nature had subdued him to herself, would not 
consent to forget that human life presents a scene of 
kindred loveliness. 

We may pause here to reflect on two changes of 
taste that have taken place in regard to Lakeland 
scenery. In the period with which we are dealing, 
the few who visited the Lakes sought out points from 
which to look down on Nature. Hence the country 
was mapped out for such view-points, or " stations," 
the Windermere Octagon or Summer House being 
one of the eminences. Arthur Young in his Six 



Months' Tour thus speaks of the well-known " Fifth 
Station," on the other side of the lake from the 
Octagon : — 

" The point on which you stand is the side of a 
large ridge of hills that form the eastern boundary of 
the lake, and the situation is high enough to look 
down upon all the objects : a circumstance of great 
importance, which painting cannot imitate." 

But our poet was one of the first to learn and point 
out that, as Gray had also taught in his Journal 
(written in 1769), " all points that are much elevated 
spoil the beauty of the valley, and make its parts, 
which are not large, look poor and diminutive." The 
reason why artists do not select eminences from which 
to paint a country of valleys simply is that, however 
detailed and extensive a map such a view may afford, 
and however exhilarating the climb to achieve it, it 
is not a picture, and is not beautiful, though, in certain 
regards, interesting. 

The second change of taste to be mentioned was 
probably brought about silently by the higher spirit 
of reverence for mountain lands breathed into British 
humanity by Wordsworth. Who, of our day, has 
even once heard salvoes of artillery discharged in 
Lakeland as a tribute to its gracious loveliness ? In 
the closing years of the eighteenth century most lakes 
in Westmorland and Cumberland had each a pleasure 
boat fitted with cannon. Mr. West mentions with 
satisfaction such a boat belonging to the hotel at 
Lowood, provided with six brass swivel guns, "to 
enjoy the echoes." 

Before considering further the thoughts and the 
writings of Wordsworth at school, we may close our 







(Seen from " Meeting of the Ways") 

(Seen from " Meeting of the Ways") 


chapter by mention of two happenings : a ride home- 
wards on holiday, and the death of the poet's father. 
The ride occurred before the death of John Words- 
worth in his son's fourteenth year, for William speaks 
of the affair as occurring " one Christmas time, at the 
glad eve of its dear holidays." Such joyous holidays did 
[not occur after 1783. Moreover, we are in plain words 
(twelfth book of the Prelude) informed that John 
Wordsworth died before his boys had been " ten days 

The three brothers were eagerly expecting the 
ponies that were to take them " home." Wordsworth 
distinctly says " home " ; Professor Knight's note 
( Wordsworth's Poems , iii. 353), assuming that "home" 
meant Penrith, and that the father died in that town, 
is apparently wrong. The Cockermouth register and 
all other sources from which one can draw information 
show that the father died in his own bed at " home." 
At a " Parting of the Ways," the boy-poet waited for 
the ponies {Prelude, xii. 287) that were to take him 
and his brothers home from school. There are five 
theories as to the right spot to assign to this parting. 
Three of the five — as given by Knight — are vitiated by 
Knight's error already noticed. The fourth is a fairly 
good guess. The fifth is Mr. Gordon Wordsworth's, 
and much the best (see " 5 " on map, p. 99). Our 
pictures are taken from this point, which is a short 
half-mile north of Borwick Castle (or "Ground"), 
|on the ridge between the road to Skelwith and the 
old pack horse track leading by Arnside over Wrynose 
to Whitehaven. 

Mr. John Wordsworth, riding home through 
Lorton Vale to Cockermouth one wild night, after 

97 g 


official duty done at Seaton, became chilled to the 
marrow. He had never been cheerful since the death 
of his wife. Dropsy had laid its hold on him. This 
disease was increased by the chill, and the widower 
succumbed. The entry in Cockermouth register is : 
" 1784, Buried, Mr. John Wordsworth, Attorney at 
Law, aged 42, Jany. 2, Dropsy." The death took 
place on December 30, 1783. The books of AVhite- 
haven Castle show that Mr. Wordsworth faithfully 
attended to his rounds of supervision till near the end. 
For example, we find by an entry that he held a Baron's 
Court as "Steward of Millom" in October of 1783. 
He was also " Steward of Seaton, Stainburn, and Little 
Clifton." The court rolls of the manor show that 
he was steward of Seaton from 14th June 1765 to 
12th November 1782. John Wordsworth evidently 
led his life in companionship with the shadow of his 
own dignity. The silence of Cockermouth records 
indicates that he took no active part in the parish's 
affairs. Only once is his name affixed to these records, 
and then the signature is perfunctory ; he signs an 
advertisement as a Guardian of the Poor. The weekly 
Cumberland Pacquet dismisses his loss with these 
commonplaces of courtesy : " Jan. 6, 1784. Last 
Tuesday, about half past 12 o'clock, Mr. Wordsworth, 
Attorney, of Cockermouth, departed this life, after a 
short confinement. He lived deservedly esteemed, 
and died universally lamented." The same paper re- 
cords that on the Thursday following the death, the 
Rev. Mr. Gillbanks preached to the Cockermouth 
Men's Mutual Aid Society, afterwards presiding over 
a much-enjoyed banquet. Neither in the sermon nor 
at the banquet, so far as record tells, was any mention 


8 - 

3 & 




made of the Lowther agent. A reminiscent letter, 
written to Miss Pollard in 1787 by Dorothy, includes 
these words : "It is indeed mortifying to my brother 
and me that amongst all those who visited at my 
father's house he had not one real friend." William 
leaves us no clear words of affection for his parent. 
But late in life he wrote the sonnet In Sight of the 
Town of Cockermouth, as a meditation on Fatherhood 
— very possibly the writer was conscious that he had 
been a strange son to a strange father. In this sonnet 
the poet begs of his children that should any of them 
who outstrip him in life's race remember pain between 
parent and offspring, they will regard the chidings 
of a father as prompted by affection, and thus filial 
love may regain its place in their hearts. 




The Wordsworth children now fell to the care of two 
relatives who little understood them, their uncles 
Christopher Crackanthorpe and Richard Wordsworth. 
A few years later than this period, a letter of Dorothy's 
reveals the family circumstances that more or less 
prevailed during the time from the father's death till 
William became independent. 

" I do not now pass half my time alone. I can bear with 
the ill-nature of all my relatives, for the affection of my brothers 
consoles me in all my griefs: . . . William and Christopher 
are very clever. . . . John, who is to be a sailor, has a most 
affectionate heart. He is not so bright as either William or 
Christopher, but he has very good common sense. . . . Richard, 
the eldest, is equally affectionate and good, but he is far from 
being as clever as William. . . . Many a time have William, 
John, Christopher, and myself shed tears together, tears of the 
bitterest sorrow. We all of us feel each day the loss we sus- 
tained when we were deprived of our parents ; and each day 
do we receive fresh insults of the most mortifying kind, the in- 
sults of servants. . . . Uncle Kit (who is our guardian) cares 
little for us. . . . We have been told a thousand times that we 
were liars." 

Thus sadly wrote Dorothy from Penrith. Mr. 
Knight has had access to letters (unpublished) which 
lead him to say : — 

" The Penrith relatives were ungenial people. The grand- 
father had not the best of tempers, and the grandmother had 
little affection to spare : cold, unsympathetic natures, both of 



Dorothy, domiciled usually at Penrith, had the 
worst of it. The brothers returned after their father's 
death to Hawkshead School. 

Curiously enough, William never mentions the 
doings or sayings of these schoolfellows of his own 
blood, his brothers. Whether, even, they lived in the 
same house with him, is matter for surmise. But it 
is not left to question that he loved that Dame Anne 
Tyson under whose roof he, at any rate, found simple 
hospitality and homely guidance of the right sort. 

Dim and not very intelligently transmitted are 
the village traditions about Anne Tyson. A capti- 
vating strain of the legend bids us believe that the 
dame first lived in the house at present occupied by 
the widow of Isaac Hodgson. Canon Rawnsley, who 
has such intimate acquaintance with Hawkshead and 
all its surroundings, contributes to Knight's Words- 
zvortk a careful examination of this story. 

Would that we could implicitly trust this " Church 
Hill House" to have been the poet's first home! 
Then it would be easy for us to understand his 
references in the fourth book of the Prelude to the 
lowly bed whence he watched the moon couched in 
the tall ash — and to the brook, " stripped of its voice," 
" boxed within the garden." The reasons against our 
unreservedly giving our heart to this delicious spot 
are several. The Prelude passage says nothing of 
spout or well (unless it be the " box "), but refers to 
the " pretty prisoner " as a rivulet dimpling down to 
a channel "paved by man's officious care." This 
channel must surely be the somewhat distant water- 
way known as " The Flags," behind Grandy Nook. 
Wordsworth does not mention living in two houses. 


(Upper room said by some to be Wordsworth's) 


On the contrary, he leaves us a prose note indicating 
that, as an undergraduate, he re-visited the house 
where he had lived with Anne Tyson while at Hawks- 
head. Similarly, in Dorothy's Scottish Tour, it is 
the house that is recollected. Finally, villagers are 
divided in their allegiance to this house as home for 
the poet ; and there is no tittle of documentary sup- 
port for its claim. 

All tradition — to tread surer if less attractive 
ground — agrees that Wordsworth spent at least most 
of his schooldays with Anne Tyson at a house in 
Grandy Nook. The street that makes an elbow 
round the back of this house is called " Queen Anne 
Street," a name believed to originate in a pleasantry 
doing honour to the dame who held humble court in 
this corner, not without a measure of authority that 
commanded respect from boys and villagers. Anne 
was never married. Her heart was pledged to school- 
boys. Her lowly cottage, "so beautiful amid the 
pleasant fields," was one of many having a ministra- 
tion all their own in that community. The frugal 
dame regulated William's clothing as well as his 
food. At the sunny seat round the stone table under 
the dark pine of her garden, in summer, or by her 
cosy kitchen fire in winter, the boys were welcome to 
play their silent games of crosses, or noisy beggar- 
my-neighbour with most beggarly cards. These 
winter frrelit games were all the better enjoyed when 
the frost bit outside, "with keen and silent tooth," 
or the splitting ice on Esthwaite, struggling above 
pent-up air, gave forth to the snowy meadows pro- 
tracted yells common enough to Lakeland ears, 
though the Prelude's description of them (i. 540) has 



been ignorantly condemned as forced. Late would 
the dame sit watching for the return of her charges, 
when, released from school, they had wheeled about, 
" like untired horses, caring not for home," to shoe 
themselves with steel, and smite the precipices near 
the lake with their din of merriment. Not seldom 
the poet among them would skate away from the 
clamour into a silent bay and cut across the reflex of 
a star. In July nights, joining the troop, a mere 
boy again, the poet would not scruple to swell the 
roar with which the revellers, returning unwearied 
from the woodlands, swept homeward to their dames 
through streets where every labourer had been long 
asleep. So feared was the exuberance of the noisy 
" collegians " even by day (floating tradition informs 
us) that the small private schools habitually released 
their scholars half-an-hour before the grammar school 
flung outward its doors when the morning's tasks 
were over. 

We have a picture {Prelude, i. 357) of William 
Wordsworth, on a summer's evening, weary of the 
playground's din, stealthily unmooring an Esthwaite 
pleasure boat, and moving out " among the watchful 
mountain echoes." He rowed a straight course with 
his eyes fixed on a crag on the starry horizon, and 
suddenly he found himself arrested, trembling ; for 
beyond that utmost crag uploomed a huge black peak 
that seemed to move upon him "like a thing of 
measured motive and purpose all its own." 

Again, far away as Ings on the east or Rydal on 
the north, the urchin-genius and his mates would 
roam, untended by any tutor. On horseback, when 
purses were heavy after holidays {Prelude, ii. 94), 


•J .2 


they scampered to Furness Abbey, racing unabashed 
through the chancel where lay cross-legged knights 
and the stony abbot in a gloom made glorious with 
the song of an invisible wren. On other days 
{Prelude, i. 326), these half-mad creatures braved the 
precipices of Yewdale for ravens' nests, or " swept 
along the plain of Windermere with rival oars " ; " we 
ran a boisterous course." Yet again (Prelude, ii. 
47), the boy, the inland-bred boy, would steal off by 
himself to the Ulverston Sands, watching the sea grow 
radiant with warning, to the distant shepherds' huts, 
of a rising moon. The stranger-child, " linking the 
spectacle with no conscious memory of a kindred 
sight " would gaze upon the leagues of shining waters, 
not wrapt in sense of quietness or peace — only busy, 
in these fields of light, with the pleasure of a bee 
among the flowers. 

But Wordsworth remains an inland poet; the brine 
in his blood was faint, for a great Englishman ; rivers 
early washed away particles of the due proportion. 
The Cumberland coast forces from him no memorable 
cry of sea pride : Peele Castle, based on a quite ridi- 
culous oil painting of a tempest at Rampside, on the 
Lancashire coast, devotes almost all its verbal artistry 
to description of a pond-like calm ; Tintern Abbey 
and the Ode on Intimations of Immortality use the 
foam on Britain's shores as a Platonic ideogram, seized 
"though inland far we be." By Dover's cliffs, or those 
I of Calais, a British navy is not within expression : 
at Dover, " inland within a hollow vale," the poet 
by instinct takes his station ; arriving there after the 
Channel trip from France, " here on his native soil he 
breathes once more." The Happy Wa?~rior, a poem 



based on the characters of his seafaring brother John 
and Lord Nelson, does not once refer to the ocean. 
Addressing the same brother John in the poem 
beginning " When to the attractions," Wordsworth 
uses a phrase such as no true seaman would accept- 
" Back to the joyless Ocean thou art gone." Even 
Wordsworth's single ship-poem ( Where lies the land ?) 
ends as Ovid might have ended it : 

" Doubt, and something dark, 
Of the old Sea some reverential fear, 
Is with me. 1 ' 





During the poet's attendance at the Hawkshead 
School founded by Archbishop Sandys, there was a 
succession of no less than four head masters, of whom 
the only one important to Wordsworth was the Rev. 
William Taylor, who reigned from 1782 to 1786. 

One of the scanty facts we know as to the rela- 
tions of William Taylor to his wonderful pupil is that 
he selected Wordsworth, with some other boys, to 
write verses commemorating the completion of the 
second centenary of the school's foundation. The 
year would be 1786 — the same year that saw the 
Kilmarnock edition of Burns's poems. Wordsworth's 
Autobiographical Notes say : " The verses were much 
admired, far more than they deserve, for they were 
but a tame imitation of Pope's versification, and a 
little in his style." 

Happily for us, Wordsworth preserved these verses, 
and in 1851 the whole poem was given to the world 
as a curiosity — apparently left just as the boy created 
it. There are in it plenty of stilted second-hand 
phrases, which Wordsworth is content to transmit for 
our instruction ; " the Sun's flaming chariot " ; " the 
God of Day, in all the pomp of light " ; " Science 
clapping her strong wings " ; " the chequered bow that 
paints the sky " ; and so forth. The point for us to 



note is one which the annotators have overlooked. 
The year 1783 was the last in which Wordsworth 
enjoyed holidays at Cockermouth. In 1784, 1785, 
1786, he and Dorothy were probably twice a year 
together at Penrith, under the grandfather's roof at 
night, and — depend upon it — roaming the Penrith 
fields all day long, after the manner of their happy 
Cockermouth companionship. Does any result come 
out in this Commemoration ? For answer to the ques- 
tion, let the student turn to Professor Knight's eighth 
volume of the Poems, page 211, or to the Oxford 
Poems, page 618, and trace in these Commemoration 
lines four things : the grateful reference to the happi- 
ness of the Hawkshead school-time ; the sense that 
the masters strove to lead their more intelligent pupils 
" to follow Nature to her secret springs " ; the metrical 
instinct of the writer of future odes releasing itself 
in passion, towards the end of the poem, from the 
restraint of the thought-enclosing couplet; and 
especially the passage in which science, aided by 
philosophy, is hailed as having swept away in the 
seventeenth century the medievalism which too easily 
retained unearned worship. 

" Britain, who long her warriors had adored, 
And deemM all merit centred in the sword ; 
Britain, who thought to stain the field was fame, 
Now honour'd Edward's less than Bacon's name." 

Does not this poem savour of Penrith Beacon as 
much as of Hawkshead School ? or else — the only 
other hypothesis that occurs — was the teaching at 
Hawkshead School sufficient of itself to turn away 
the poet's mind from themes wherein " to stain the 
fields " is lauded as the highest glory ? Was Taylor 



(more famous as " Matthew ") a Whig or a Radical, 
a Quakerish Radical, mayhap ? Ere turning to con- 
sider Mr. Taylor in particular, let us pursue for a 
little the subject of our poet's Village Verses. 

Wordsworth records that the accomplishment of 
the poem of Commemoration put it into his head to 
" compose verses from the impulse of his own mind," 
so, while yet a schoolboy, he wrote a long poem 
running upon his own adventures, and the scenery of 
the country in which he was brought up. " The 
only part of that poem which has been preserved is 
the conclusion of it, which stands at the beginning of 
my collected poems." 

This poem therefore, Dear Native Regions, be- 
longs, like the last-considered verses, to the author's 
sixteenth year. The prose note attached to the 
poem informs us that the thoughts and images con- 
tained in the original long poem had been dispersed 
through the poet's other writings — an indication of 
the way in which William, like Dorothy, constantly 
treasured the impressions of childhood as a valuable 
standard of judgment in this world of many illusions. 
The little production is notable in the following par- 
ticulars. It is a revulsion from the tyranny of Pope's 
versification, and an experiment in the octosyllabic 
measures afterwards adopted so largely by Byron and 
Scott. Young Wordsworth makes his octosyllabics a 
brooding, slow measure, more suo; differing in quality 
almost wholly from the hobby-horse blithesomeness 
of Hudibrass metre, and even from the swiftly 
gliding music of Coleridge's Christabel — the music of 
a snake-charmer. Again, we notice in this poem 
that, standing with his face towards the Cumberland 



hills, the poet identifies Furness with that county; 
and, probably with the flat fenland of Cambridge as 
a gloomy picture at the back of his brain, he promises 
everlasting fidelity of affection to these " dear native 
regions." Again, though not strikingly original, the 
concluding thought of the poem is likely to be 
Wordsworth's own, and obtained from direct obser- 
vation. He will even at his last days think lovingly 
of the land of his youth, just as the sinking sun, 
although it shed not one memorial gleam, at parting 
down into the valley, throws still a lingering ray of 
fondness to the dim hills where first he rose. 

But in the same year, 1786, the young singer, like 
an eaglet in his first sweep of power, sudden as serene, 
through the royalty of a3ther, gave forth a cry of 
consecrated aloofness that merits our respectful study. 
First, we notice that our student-poet has been brood- 
ing over the unfashionable sonnet form. For all its 
irregularity of rhyme-structure, Calm is all Nature 
is a true fourteen-line sonnet ; and indeed it is pub- 
lished in volume first of the 1807 Poems as the 
thirteenth of a series of sonnets. The next thing 
we find is that Wordsworth had laid hold of the 
almost forgotten works of Anne Finch (1660-1720). 
Anne Finch was the daughter of Sir William Kings- 
mill of Sidmonton, Southampton, and married 
Heneage Finch, who became fourth Earl of Win- 

In one of his famous prefaces Wordsworth pro- 
claims it " remarkable that, excepting the Nocturnal 
Reverie of Lady Winchilsea, and a passage or two in 
the Windsor Forest of Pope, the poetry of the period 
intervening between the publication of Paradise Lost 




and the Seasons does not contain a single new image 
of external nature ; and scarcely presents a familiar 
one from which it can be inferred that the eye of the 
poet had been steadily fixed upon his object, much 
less that his feelings had urged him to work upon 
it in the spirit of genuine imagination." Lady 
Winchilsea made no formal protest against Pope. 
She used Pope's heroic couplet to the end of her life. 
Pope wrote to her with affectionate admiration. But 
Lady Winchilsea was one of these invaluable thinkers 
who write only to please themselves. Pope and the 
Classicals addressed external Nature with something 
of patronage : Nature was a thing upon which the 
poet would show his dexterity before a parterre of 
connoisseurs, connoisseurs in phraseology. The 
Countess of Winchilsea loved words as Wordsworth 
loved the simple daisies, for their delicious modest 
truthfulness. They appealed to her own essentially 
unspoiled heart ; in the solitude of her garden at 
evening, with no bevy of experts to astonish, she 
would learn of Nature, and, reverently thankful, 
record her feelings in feeling words ; hence, truth. 
This is Lady Winchilseas poem, entitled, 


" In such a night when every louder wind 
Is to its distant cavern safe confined, 
And only gentle Zephyr fans his wings, 
And lonely Philomel, still waking, sings, 
Or from some tree, fam'd for the owPs delight, 
She, hollowing clear, directs the wanderer right : 
In such a night when passing clouds give place, 
Or thinly veil the heaven's mysterious face ; 
When in some river, overhung with green, 
The waving moon and trembling leaves are seen ; 


When freshened grass now bears itself upright, 

And makes cool banks to pleasing rest invite, 

Whence springs the woodbine and the bramble-rose, 

And where the sleepy cowslip sheltered grows ; 

Whilst now a paler hue the foxglove takes 

And chequers still with red the dusky brakes : 

When odours which declin'd repelling day, 

Thro 1 temperate air uninterrupted stray ; 

When darken'd groves their softest shadows wear 

And falling waters we distinctly hear; 

When through the gloom more venerable shows 

Some ancient Fabric, awful in repose, 

While sunburnt hills their swarthy looks conceal, 

And swelling hay-cocks thicken up the vale : 

When the loos'd horse now, as his pasture leads, 

Comes slowly grazing through the adjoining meads, 

Whose stealing pace, and lengthen'd shade we fear 

'Till torn-up forage in his teeth we hear : 

When nibbling sheep at large pursue their food, 

And unmolested kine re-chew the cud ; 

When curlews cry beneath the village walls, 

And to her straggling brood the partridge calls ; 

Their short-lived jubilee the creatures keep, 

Which but endures while tyrant man does sleep; 

When a sedate content the spirit feels, 

And no fierce light disturbs whilst it reveals ; 

But silent musings urge the mind to seek 

Something too high for syllables to speak ; 

'Till the free soul, to a compos'dness charm'd, 

Finding the elements of rage disarm'd, 

O'er all below a solemn quiet grown, 

Joys in the inferior world, and thinks it like her own : — 

In such a night let me abroad remain, 

Till morning breaks and all 's confused again ; 

Our cares, our toils, our clamours are renew'd, 

Our pleasures, seldom reach'd, again pursued." 

Our heart finds rest, and our senses come alive, 
in reading truthful words like these. This is poetic 
sense, roused from hushed contemplation — not pro- 
fessional scene-painting to a parterre. 



Now we turn to young Wordsworth's 


Calm is all nature as a resting wheel. 

The kine are couched upon the dewy grass ; 

The horse alone, seen dimly as I pass, 

Is cropping audibly his later meal : 

Dark is the ground ; a slumber seems to steal 

O'er vale, and mountain, and the starless sky. 

Now, in this blank of things, a harmony, 

Home-felt, and home-created, comes to heal 

That grief for which the senses still supply 

Fresh food ; for only then, when memory 

Is hushed, am I at rest. My Friends ! restrain 

Those busy cares that would allay my pain ; 

Oh ! leave me to myself, nor let me feel 

The officious touch that makes me droop again. 

The satisfying first phrase, and its true relation to 
the rest of the picture-making ; the " blank of things"; 
the " memory hushed " (not sought later by the poet) ; 
and the last triumphantly perfect line about "the 
officious touch " — these might well have roused Cole- 
ridge to say, as he said of ideas expressed in There 
was a Boy : " If I had met them in the Desert 
of Arabia I should have instantly screamed out 
* Wordsworth ! ' " But important as is the dignified 
autobiographical significance of the sonnet, important 
as is the sustained power of its simple wording in the 
evolution of the poet's style, important as are the 
obvious resemblances showing that Lady Winchilsea's 
Nocturnal Reverie was in our poet's recollection, 
there is yet another matter in this performance to 
consider. The sonnet is Wordsworth's first essay 
in landscape ; and here we find him struggling with 
an artistic conundrum. Wordsworth, like so many 

113 h 


of our great poets, had but a poor ear for what is 
called " a tune " ; but he had an exquisitely trained 
ear for natural sounds. The conundrum was — see the 
borrowed incident of the horse cropping — how far 
may a poet be justified in using audition for the ren- 
dering of landscape ? Is the use of it as false as the 
placing of a real ticking watch in the clock-face of 
some architectural picture ? In An Evening Walk 
we shall discover the artist to be excessively occu- 
pied with this dangerous and fascinating landscape 
of the ear. The limits to be set for that kind of re- 
production of extension in Nature — as distinguished 
from visual appreciation — cannot perhaps be settled. 
But the student will find that Wordsworth never 
again made such profuse appeal to the ear as in An 
Evening Walk, except in that deliberate bravura, 
The Power of Sound. With general regard to 
Wordsworth's development of landscape, the follow- 
ing sentences are useful for our guidance. They 
occur in the note prefixed to An Evening Walk, 
about an oak "fronting the bright west." "This 
is feebly and imperfectly expressed, but I recol- 
lect distinctly the very spot where this first struck 
me. It was on the way between Hawkshead and 
Ambleside, and gave me extreme pleasure. The 
moment was important in my poetical history ; for I 
date from it my consciousness of the infinite variety 
of natural appearances which had been unnoticed by 
the poets of any age or country, so far as I was ac- 
quainted with them; and I made a resolution to 
supply in some degree the deficiency. I could not 
at that time have been above fourteen years of age." 
Having considered such Hawkshead productions 



as Wordsworth has left us, we take up the " Mat- 
thew " series of poems — poems altogether reminiscent 
of the poet's schooldays, though written when he had 
become a man. This group of recollective pieces 
consists of four poems : Matthew, The Two April 
Mornings, The Fountain, and the Address to the 
Scholars of a Village School. The Prelude alludes 
also to " Matthew " ; in the tenth book of that work 
(531) details are given of a visit to " Matthew's" grave. 
It is difficult for us to say why Wordsworth chose to 
treat this one teacher, Taylor, with a special amount 
of poetic mystification ; yet thus he did treat him. 
Was he a winebibber, this Rev. William Taylor? 
Was he whimsical to the verge of irresponsibility ? 
or was he, on the contrary, one who had grave in- 
fluence over others to prevent flightiness from be- 
coming turpitude ? Although in Holy Orders, was 
he, with witty rhymes, a girder at things ecclesiastical 
(symbolised in crazed chimings from a belfry) ? Was 
he "diseur de bons mots, mauvais caractere" — a 
flouter of humanity, at heart ? or was his flippancy 
a cloak for a man possessed of exceptional depth of 
feeling for humanity? Local history gives us no 
sign of affection for his memory. There is not a 
member of his family in the district who possesses 
a scrap of his writing, a book, or anything else that 
belonged to him. Wordsworth does deeply interest 
us in " Matthew," but the impression we receive is of 
a subjective idea in the poet-pupil's mind — moreover, 
a composite idea. This is the most shadowy, high- 
fantastical pedagogue whom we have in poetic litera- 
ture ; a cuckoo pedagogue ; a wandering voice. 

The most unsophisticated reference to Taylor is 



probably that cluster of lines in the Prelude, book 
tenth (548), where Wordsworth says, if he (Taylor) 
had been alive (1704, the date of writing : Taylor died 
in 1786) " he would have loved me as one not bely- 
ing the hope he had formed when I, at his command, 
began toilfully to spin my earliest songs." We are 
probably warranted in taking this sentence to mean 
that, although an usher named Shaw was really the 
first Hawkshead teacher to draw verses from Words- 
worth, Taylor asked for the verses of Commemora- 
tion, and otherwise proved the real fosterer of his 
pupil's imagination. This supposition is borne out, 
more or less, by all the " Matthew " poems. 

The poem actually entitled Matthew is prefaced 
by a prose note from Wordsworth : 

" In the School of Hawkshead is a tablet on which are in- 
scribed, in gilt letters, the Names of several persons who have 
been Schoolmasters there since the foundation of the School, 
with the time at which they entered upon and quitted their 
office. Opposite to one of these Names the Author wrote the 
following lines. Such a tablet as is here spoken of continued 
to be preserved in Hawkshead School, though the inscriptions 
were not brought down to our time. This, and other poems 
connected with Matthew, would not gain by a literal detail of 
facts. Like the Wanderer in the Excursion, this School- 
master was made up of several, both of his class and men of 
other occupations. I do not ask pardon for what there is of 
untruth in such verses, considered strictly as matters of fact. 
It is enough, if, being true and consistent in spirit, they move 
and teach in a manner not unworthy of a Poet's calling.' 1 

Now it is hard for us to understand how Words- 
worth, who lived at Hawkshead and not in the Forest 
of Arden, thought of leaving his Yew Tree Seat poem 
on the stone resting-place under the tree, as he says 
he did ; but it is impossible to understand how he 



could write these " Matthew'' verses opposite the name 
on the still existing board, or on any such cramped 
board. Even here there is mystification ; " opposite " 
can be read only as u d propos"; unless, as we might 
come to think, the writer composed his verses while 
standing opposite the list containing the mention of 
Taylor. If this interpretation of " opposite " be ac- 
cepted, we must equally interpret " on " as equivalent 
to " about," in the title to this poem given in the 
"Contents" of the original 1802 edition: "Lines 
written on a Tablet in a School." The many freedoms 
Wordsworth takes with this shadowy schoolmaster, 
and the significant fact that, while the Latin-teaching 
usher is respectfully named by his surname of Shaw, 
Taylor is throughout familiarly addressed by a Chris- 
tian name, cause us to feel, as a first impression, that 
Taylor's was a lovable, easy-going nature that courted 
such affectionate sansfafo?i greeting from a favourite 
elder pupil. 

This is the first of the " Matthew " poems : 


If Nature, for a favourite child, 
In thee hath tempered so her clay, 
That every hour thy heart runs wild, 
Yet never once doth go astray, 

Read o'er these lines; and then review 
This tablet, that thus humbly rears 
In such diversity of hue 
Its history of two hundred years. 

— When through this little wreck of fame, 
Cipher and syllable ! thine eye 
Has travelled down to Matthew's name, 
Pause with no common sympathy. 


And if a sleeping tear should wake, 
Then be it neither checked nor stayed : 
For Matthew a request I make 
Which for himself he had not made. 

Poor Matthew, all his frolics o'er, 
Is silent as a standing pool ; 
Far from the chimney's merry roar, 
And murmur of the village school. 

The sighs which Matthew heaved were sighs 
Of one tired out with fun and madness ; 
The tears which came to Matthew's eyes 
Were tears of light, the dew of gladness. 

Yet sometimes, when the secret cup 
Of still and serious thought went round, 
It seemed as if he drank it up — 
He felt with spirit so profound. 

— Thou soul of God's best earthly mould ! 
Thou happy Soul ! and can it be 
That these two words of glittering gold 
Are all that must remain of thee ? 

This seems to be a faithful portrait. Staring, as it 
were, at the very inscription of Taylor's name in his own 
school, the pupil would hardly have allowed himself 
to import an alien or fictitious character into his verses. 
We had better suspend judgment for a little. Let 
us do our best to winnow the other " Matthew " poems. 
Three of the four poems were written at Goslar, Ger- 
many, in 1799, that year of extraordinary frost in which 
the poet's memories of youth were one by one trans- 
muted with leisurely pains into well-tempered music. 


We walked along, while bright and red 
Uprose the morning sun ; 
And Matthew stopped, he looked, and said, 
"The will of God be done ! " 


A village schoolmaster was he, 
With hair of glittering grey ; 
As blithe a man as you could see 
On a spring holiday. 

And on that morning, through the grass, 
And by the steaming rills, 
We travelled merrily, to pass 
A day among the hills. 

" Our work, 11 said I, " was well begun, 
Then from thy breast what thought, 
Beneath so beautiful a sun, 
So sad a sigh has brought ? " 

A second time did Matthew stop ; 
And fixing still his eye 
Upon the eastern mountain-top, 
To me he made reply : 

" Yon cloud with that long purple cleft 
Brings fresh into my mind 
A day like this which I have left 
Full thirty years behind. 

" And just above yon slope of corn 
Such colours, and no other, 
Were in the sky, that April morn, 
Of this the very brother. 

u With rod and line my silent sport 

I plied by Derwent's wave, 

And, to the churchyard come, stopped short 

Beside my daughter's grave. 

" Nine summers had she scarcely seen, 
The pride of all the vale ; 
And then she sang ; — she would have been 
A very nightingale. 


" Six feet in earth my Emma lay ; 
And yet I loved her more, 
For so it seemed, than till that day 
I e'er had loved before. 

" And, turning from her grave, I met, 
Beside the churchyard yew, 
A blooming Girl, whose hair was wet 
With points of morning dew. 

" A basket on her head she bare ; 
Her brow was smooth and white ; 
To see a child so very fair, 
It was a pure delight ! 

" No fountain from its rocky cave 
E'er tripped with foot so free ; 
She seemed as happy as a wave 
That dances on the sea. 

u There came from me a sigh of pain 
Which I could ill confine ; 
I looked at her, and looked again ; 
And did not wish her mine ! M 

Matthew is in his grave, yet now, 
Methinks, I see him stand, 
As at that moment, with a bough 
Of wilding in his hand. 

This — were there no other " Matthew " poems — we 
might receive as an affecting study of self-intensifying 
love in a parent for a lost only daughter. In the 
earliest edition the name of the " Derwent " occurs in 
the eighth stanza, and it perhaps was thought of, at 
Goslar, as serving artistry for metre and euphony. 
Later, the conscience of the artist strikes out " Der- 
went," substituting no other name. But we are left 
perplexed by the fact that Hawkshead has practically 
no trout streams, and certainly not one considerable 



stream that would lead an angler to its churchyard : 
and, by the way, the Derwent at Cockermouth leads to 
no churchyard. So here we must dwell, as Sir Thomas 
Browne loved to say, in an adumbration. The Hawks- 
head Church books bear no trace of the burying of any 
member or members of the Taylor family — if family 
there was. 



We talked with open heart, and tongue 
Affectionate and true, 
A pair of friends, though I was young, 
And Matthew seventy-two. 

We lay beneath a spreading oak, 
Beside a mossy seat ; 
And from the turf a fountain broke, 
And gurgled at our feet. 

" Now, Matthew," said I, " let us match 
This water's pleasant tune 
With some old border-song, or catch 
That suits a summer's noon ; 

" Or of the church-clock and the chimes 
Sing here beneath the shade, 
That half-mad thing of witty rhymes 
Which you last April made ! " 

In silence Matthew lay, and eyed 
The spring beneath the tree ; 
And thus the dear old Man replied, 
The grey -haired man of glee : 

" No check, no stay, this Streamlet fears. 
How merrily it goes ! 
'Twill murmur on a thousand years, 
And flow as now it flows. 


" And here, on this delightful day, 
I cannot choose but think 
How oft, a vigorous man, I lay 
Beside this fountain's brink. 

" My eyes are dim with childish tears, 
My heart is idly stirred, 
For the same sound is in my ears 
Which in those days I heard. 

" Thus fares it still in our decay : 
And yet the wiser mind 
Mourns less for what age takes away 
Than what it leaves behind. 

" The blackbird amid leafy trees, 
The lark above the hill, 
Let loose their carols when they please, 
Are quiet when they will. 

With Nature never do they wage 
A foolish strife ; they see 
A happy youth, and their old age 
Is beautiful and free : 

" But we are pressed by heavy laws ; 
And often, glad no more, 
We wear a face of joy, because 
We have been glad of yore. 

" If there be one who need bemoan 
His kindred laid in earth, 
The household hearts that were his own ; 
It is the man of mirth. 

" My days, my Friend, are almost gone, 
My life has been approved, 
And many love me ! but by none 
Am I enough beloved." 

" Now both himself and me he wrongs, 
The man who thus complains ! 
I live and sing my idle songs 
Upon these happy plains ; 


" And, Matthew, for thy children dead 
Til be a son to thee ! " 
At this he grasped my hand, and said, 
" Alas ! that cannot be." 

We rose up from the fountain-side ; 
And down the smooth descent 
Of the green sheep-track did we glide ; 
And through the wood we went ; 

And, ere we came to Leonard^ rock, 
He sang those witty rhymes 
About the crazy old church-clock, 
And the bewildered chimes. 

" Children dead." We must adjust our focus when 
coming to this poem from The Two April Mornings. 
The Fountain is the most profound of the " Matthew " 
cycle of studies. Many of its thoughts are such as 
could hardly have entered young Wordsworth's heart 
unsuggested; life before him, and Dorothy by his 
side, and Mary blooming at Penrith, it must have 
been reminiscence of another man's unsuspected 
passion of grief that we witness here : unless indeed 
— but this is barely possible — The Two April Morn- 
ings and The Fountain conceal and yet confess a 
pain connected with " Lucy," " the memory of what 
has been and never more will be." 


I come, ye little noisy Crew, 
Not long your pastime to prevent ; 
I heard the blessing which to you 
Our common Friend and Father sent. 
I kissed his cheek before he died ; 
And when his breath was fled, 
I raised, while kneeling by his side, 
His hand : — it dropped like lead. 


Your hands, clear Little-ones, do all 
That can be done, will never fall 
Like his till they are dead. 
By night or day, blow foul or fair, 
Ne'er will the best of all your train 
Play with the locks of his white hair, 
Or stand between his knees again. 

Here did he sit confined for hours ; 
But he could see the woods and plains, 
Could hear the wind and mark the showers 
Come streaming down the streaming panes. 
Now stretched beneath his grass-green mound 
He rests a prisoner of the ground. 
He loved the breathing air, 
He loved the sun, but if it rise 
Or set, to him where now he lies, 
Brings not a moment's care. 
Alas! what idle words; but take 
The Dirge which for our Master's sake 
And yours, love prompted me to make. 
The rhymes so homely in attire 
With learned ears may ill agree, 
But chanted by your Orphan Quire 
Will make a touching melody. 


Mourn, Shepherd, near thy old grey stone ; 
Thou Angler, by the silent flood ; 
And mourn when thou art all alone, 
Thou Woodman, in the distant wood ! 

Thou one blind Sailor, rich in joy 
Though blind, thy tunes in sadness hum ; 
And mourn, thou poor half-witted Boy ! 
Born deaf, and living deaf and dumb. 

Thou drooping sick Man, bless the Guide 
Who checked or turned thy headstrong youth, 
As he before had sanctified 
Thy infancy with heavenly truth. 


Ye Striplings, light of heart and gay, 

Bold settlers on some foreign shore, 

Give, when your thoughts are turned this way. 

A sigh to him whom we deplore. 

For us who here in funeral strain 
With one accord our voices raise, 
Let sorrow overcharged with pain 
Be lost in thankfulness and praise. 

And when our hearts shall feel a sting 
From ill we meet or good we miss, 
May touches of his memory bring 
Fond healing, like a mother's kiss. 

By the Side of the Grave some Years After 

Long time his pulse hath ceased to beat ; 
But benefits, his gift, we trace — 
Expressed in every eye we meet 
Round this dear Vale, his native place. 

To stately Hall and Cottage rude 
Flowed from his life what still they hold, 
Light pleasures, every day renewed ; 
And blessings half a century old. 

Oh true of heart, of spirit gay, 
Thy faults, where not already gone 
From memory, prolong their stay 
For charity's sweet sake alone. 

Such solace find we for our loss ; 
And what beyond this thought we crave 
Comes in the promise from the Cross, 
Shining upon thy happy grave. 

Surely sincere words, all these ? It can scarcely 
be that a man would peep and poetise upon his 
master's grave ? 

Wordsworth appends to the foregoing Address 
a remark linking it to the subject of the " Matthew " 



poems. Why was this Funeral Poem, dated 1798, 
separated from its companion " Matthew " poems, 
and kept out of print till 1842 ? 

First, let us set down clearly all that we actually 
know of the Rev. William Taylor. The present Master 
of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, states that Taylor 
was entered at that college in 1774 as " from 
Cumberland." Possibly "Cumberland" was a term 
loosely used as corresponding to what we now term 
Lakeland. But at any rate we have no facts or 
hints to indicate that Taylor was a native of the 
Hawkshead Valley. His being buried at Cartmel 
Priory, six miles distant from his school, instead of 
at Hawkshead, and his being described as the son of 
John Taylor, of Outerthwaite, are inferential evidence 
against his having been born at Hawkshead. Outer- 
thwaite is part of the Cartmel district. Taylor became 
head master of Hawkshead School shortly after 
Edward Christian resigned that post in June of 1782. 
Taylor's end is set forth in the following epitaph, 
which may be read to-day on his tombstone in the 
churchyard of Cartmel Priory : — 

" In memory of the Rev. William Taylor, A.M., son of John 
Taylor of Outerthwaite, who was some years a Fellow of Eman. 
Coll., Camb., and Master of the Free School at Hawkshead. 
He departed this life June the 12th, 1786, aged 32 years 
2 months and 13 days. 

' His merits, stranger, seek not to disclose, 
Or draw his Frailties from their dread abode, 
There they alike in trembling Hope repose, 
The Bosom of his Father and his God. 1 " 

This epitaph and the fact that Taylor died at the 
early age of thirty-two, having been only four years 
at Hawkshead School, are quite accordant with the 


(Taylor's grave, on extreme left) 


single poem called Matthew. We have nothing to 
show, by the way, that Taylor was ever married. 

In the tenth book of the Prelude, Wordsworth 
soberly and accurately describes his only recorded 
visit to Taylor's grave. The date of the visit is that 
of Robespierre's death, 1794. There is here no sug- 
gestion of any verses having been written by the 

The student of The Two April Mornings, The 
Fountain, and The Address must confess that al- 
though these pieces may contain touches conveyed 
from the character of Taylor, they contain many 
more touches that could not possibly fit his age and 
position. Are we not able to discern in these poems 
at least two figures apart from Taylor : the person- 
ality of an " Original " — an irresponsible commentator 
on life, stricken in years (" seventy-two"), mellow, rich 
in leisure ; and the personality — in The Address — of 
a village clergyman, a more responsible and conven- 
tional man than the " Original " ? 

The " Original " was probably compounded of 
two respectable hawkers, who reappear as one figure 
in the Excursion. One of the pedlars was a Scot 
named James Patrick. After acquiring a modest 
competence by carrying the pack, he settled down in 
Kendal. There he married a kinswoman of Mrs. 
Wordsworth's, and under his roof Sarah Hutchinson 
spent some years of her youth. Patrick companied 
with the Kendal Unitarians, at the old Presbyterian 
meeting-house ; and outside of that chapel this 
mural inscription exists : — 

" Near this place are buried John Patrick of Barnard Castle, 
who died May 10th, 1753, Aged 51 years; Margaret, the 



daughter of James and Mary Patrick, who died November 
26th, 1767, in her infancy; James Patrick of Kendal, who died 
March 2nd, 1787, Aged 71 years." 

Of this excellent man, with whom Wordsworth 
sometimes worshipped in the Presbyterian chapel, the 
poet writes : " My own imaginations I was happy to 
find clothed in reality, and fresh ones suggested, by 
what Sarah reported of this man's tenderness of heart, 
his strong and pure imagination, and his solid attain- 
ments in literature, chiefly religious, whether in prose 
or verse." 

But the poet goes on to tell us of a second pedlar, 
and one who is probably the more intimately con- 
nected with The Two April Mornings and The 
Fountain. " At Hawkshead also, while I was a 
schoolboy, there occasionally resided a Packman (the 
name then generally given to persons of this calling) 
with whom I had frequent conversations upon what 
had befallen him, and what he had observed, during 
his wandering life ; and, as was natural, we took much 
to each other " (Note to Excursion, i. 54). 

The Excursion passage describes the pedlar as 
" of reverend age," and proceeds : — 

" We were tried Friends : amid a pleasant vale, 
In the antique market-village where was passed 
My schooltime, an apartment he had owned, 
To which at intervals the Wanderer drew, 
And found a kind of home or harbour there. 
He loved me ; from a swarm of rosy boys 
Singled out me, as he in sport would say, 
For my grave looks, too thoughtful for my years. 
As I grew up, it was my best delight 
To be his chosen comrade. Many a time, 
On holidays, we rambled through the woods : 
We sate — we walked ; he pleased me with report 



Of things which he had seen ; and often touched 

Abstrusest matter, reasonings of the mind 

Turned inward ; or at my request would sing 

Old songs, the product of his native hills ; 

A skilful distribution of sweet sounds, 

Feeding the soul, and eagerly imbibed 

As cool refreshing water, by the care 

Of the industrious husbandman, diffused 

Through a parched meadow-ground, in time of drought. 

Still deeper welcome found his pure discourse : 

How precious when in riper days I learned 

To weigh with care his words, and to rejoice 

In the plain presence of his dignity ! ,1 

This is surely the character chiefly depicted in 
The Two April Mornings and The Fountain. Pro- 
bably in 1799 Wordsworth was not yet prepared to 
introduce pedlars into poetry : hence, mystification. 
Taylor and the Hawkshead pedlar had both been 
formative in the boy's development : their common 
influence was idealised as that of * * Matthew. " But we 
can discriminate between these two persons without 
real difficulty. 

Now, shall we find in the Hawkshead registers, 
between 1778 and 1786, mention of any Scots pack- 
man, and mention of such a man's daughter dying 
some thirty years earlier, at the age of nine ? The 
only Scot mentioned in the Hawkshead burial register 
during Wordsworth's period is entered as follows : 
" 1784 Sept. ye 13th Buried 15th in Chyard aged 
79 John, ye Son of David Moore, of Town a Scotch- 
man." Is this the pedlar ? He fits into circumstances 
fairly well. He would be seventy-two or seventy- 
three when Wordsworth became a schoolboy in the 
village. The records do not give this man a daughter, 
but if he were the pedlar, his daughter may have been 
buried at a point in her father's wanderings when 

129 i 


Hawkshead was not his home. We can only say, 
John Moore is possibly the pedlar and the " Original 
of The Two April Mornings and The Fountain. The 
pedlar is probably further referred to in Expostula- 
tion and Reply and The Tables Turned. 

But now we come to An Address to the Scholars 
of the Village School of . Here we have por- 
trayed an individual not named as " Matthew " ; not so 
young as Taylor, for his locks are white ; but again, 
not corresponding in any way to the irresponsible 
character of our Scots pedlar. This new personage, 
whether or not he had any magisterial connection 
with Hawkshead School, or whether or not the school 
depicted be that of Hawkshead, is plainly the clergy- 
man of the place, or at least a priest who has been 
active in the general practice of his calling. He is not 
named familiarly as the pedlar is in the other poems. 
Lest the personal description might give offence, 
Wordsworth does not publish this poem until more 
than forty years after its composition. The " scholars" 
are addressed about some one who is not specifically 
indicated as a schoolmaster, although he is spoken 
of as " our Master " and " our common Friend and 
Father." This Friend and Father is to be mourned 
by the distant woodman, the blind sailor, the deaf 
and dumb half-wit of the village, by the youths who 
had left the district for foreign shores, and by the 
drooping sick man who was turned by the hero of 
the poem in his headstrong youth, as before he had 
been " sanctified in infancy " by his act or teaching. 
Such is the tenor of this serious poem about a char- 
acter totally free from the waywardness of the pedlar. 
There is an appendix to the poem, written " By the 



Side of the Grave some Years After." Now on the 
only occasion when Wordsworth visited Taylors 
grave at Cartmel Priory, he wrote no verses by the 
grave, so far as record shows (see page 115). In this 
appendix Wordsworth tells the scholars that although 
their common friend's pulse has long ceased to beat, 
the benefits bestowed by him upon his native vale can 
still be traced in the eyes of every inhabitant of that 
vale. His influence had for half a century flowed 
to cottages and stately hall. Mention of a most 
charitable sort is made of the friend's imperfections ; 
but the poem ends with the solace that comes in the 
promise from the Cross shining upon the happy grave. 
As we have already noted, this poem is dated 
" 1798." In 1798 Wordsworth was at London, Alfox- 
den, and Hamburg, not at Hawkshead ; " 1798 " 
does not even fit the appendix, for the poet's visit to 
Taylor's grave occurred in 1794. In 1799, when he 
wrote the other so-called " Matthew" poems, he was 
at Goslar in Germany. We cannot take it as likely 
that the Address was really written at Hawkshead 
about a real event of or about 1798-99. It is obvious 
that the Address can by no possibility refer to 
Taylor's death, for the author speaks to the " little 
noisy Crew " like an elder returning to them as a 
visitor ; and Taylor died when Wordsworth, in his 
sixteenth year, was a boy in daily attendance at 
Hawkshead School. If the poem had been written 
from facts occurring about 1798-99, the children of 
Hawkshead School would have known nothing of 
any Taylor as " common Friend and Father " to 
them and Wordsworth. Nobody can tell how the 
date " 1798 " was assigned to the Address. The writer 



has seen the original manuscript, bearing the printer's 
marks : it contains no date. He has seen another 
draft in manuscript, not dated ; and a third, marked 
" 1789" [not 1798]. There exist, in all, four manu- 
script versions, not one dated 1798, and all four 
amounting, in their various readings, to cumulative 
proof that the poet was " hedging " round a theme of 
real life and social difficulty. 

Has the student of Wordsworth's Hawkshead 
period ever wondered why the poet never refers to the 
clergyman in describing Hawkshead characters ? In 
these days, the parson had his own inevitable im- 
portance in the village ; and it happens that the 
Hawkshead vicar of this time was quite an institu- 
tion. We may adopt the working hypothesis that 
the Address, however baffling in its allusions, is 
Wordsworth's tribute to the " Squarson " of the place, 
Reginald Braithwaite, who was forty-eight years vicar 
of Hawkshead, and who built the mansion of Belmont, 
near Borwick Ground and Hawkshead Hall. Words- 
worth, having written the poem in sections all much 
later than 1788 or 1789, kept it out of print for many 
years lest any line of it might give offence to relatives 
of the subject. The assigned date is misleading, 
possibly put in by an amanuensis in error caused by 
Wordsworth's choosing to link it, in his deliberately 
mystifying prose note, to The Fountain. 

It is from a tablet in Hawkshead Church that we 
gather that Mr. Braithwaite was forty-eight years 
vicar of Hawkshead. Putting this fact by the side 
of the excerpts here printed from the Hawkshead 
burials and birth registers, we see a " white-haired " 
clergyman between whose knees the village children 



might familiarly play ; " a common Friend and 

Father " ; spiritual adviser of the village characters ; 

at home in hall or cottage ; one — when he died in 1809 

— who had dispensed spiritual and material benefits 

for " half a century" ; and one to whom this vale was 

" his native place.*' 

" 1737, Regind, Son of Gawen Braithwt, Buried March 7th." 
" 1769, Reginald Tubman, Eldest Son of the Revd. Reginald 
Braithwaite, Minister of Hawkshead, Died July 29th, Buried 
31st in Church, Aged 16." 

" 1809, Revd. Reginald Brathwaite [Reginald always signed 
his name so, but others usually spelt it 4 Braithwaite'], Minister 
of this Church, Departed this life on the 6th day of October, 
Buried in Church the 11th, Aged 72." [There is actually con- 
siderable uncertainty as to whether the burial took place in 
" church " or in " churchyard."] 

For purposes of discretion, Wordsworth, when in 
1842 he first published the Address, appended these 
words to the poem : " See upon the subject The 
Fountain, fyc. " ; and no doubt the parson of the 
Address was also a formative influence in the poet's 
early life, and therefore could in a remote sense be 
linked up with the generalised " Matthew." But 
Wordsworth, to the end, felt personal delicacy with 
regard to these poems and that note ; a delicacy which 
is connected chiefly with the Address. 

Let us sum up probabilities. Reginald Braith- 
waite died in 1809, and probably Wordsworth would 
go over from Grasmere to attend the death- bed or at 
any rate the funeral of his old pastor and "master." We 
know that thirty-two years afterwards, the poet and 
those who copied out his compositions for him gathered 
• a bundle of MSS. for publication. The poet would 
be asked to furnish a date for the Address. From 
the evidence of the four existing copies, the only date 



assigned by anybody was " 1789." There is no 
proof that Wordsworth visited Hawkshead in 1789 ; 
and there is much recorded to make it likely that 
he did not do so. At any rate, neither Taylor 
nor Braithwaite died in 1789. The supposition that 
" 1789 " refers only to the concluding By the Side 
of the Grave Some Years Afterwards cannot stand, for 
Wordsworth would not in that year have written 
such orthodox Christian verses. In the process of 
making up the 1842 Poems for publication, " 1789 " 
disappeared from the Address, and " 1798 " took the 
place of that misleading date. There is no means of 
telling who put in this second date. It is the figure 
" 9 " that seems to have been troubling the minds of 
those who sought a date for the poem. Both dates, 
as given to us, are unsatisfactory. Much seems to be 
cleared up if we conclude that the real date of the 
Address and Dirge was that of Braithwaite's death 
in 180P, and that the rest of the poem was added 
within the later years of Wordsworth's orthodoxy. 

The short and long about the " Matthew" compo- 
sitions is — these poems are each exquisite ; as a group 
intended to portray one ideal character, they are 
unacceptable. Given enough time to brood over a 
character, Wordsworth almost inevitably blended it 
with other personalities. One hardly knows whether 
this tendency in him was a merit or a defect. We 
shall be able to consider the tendency later, in con- 
nection with " Michael." So inveterate was the habit, 
that even the lines Wordsworth wrote in Thomson's 
Castle of Indolence present us with a composite, blurred 
image of himself and Coleridge, clear to no perception 
except the stereoscopic mind of its creator. 







Thomas Tickell, as Wordsworth himself has re- 
marked, was a man of no common genius, but he 
chose Kensington Gardens as the subject of a poem, 
rather than the banks of the Derwent, within a mile 
or two of which he was born. James Thomson, a 
man of the North, was earnest enough to please 
Wordsworth as a master of the poesy of Nature, yet 
even he smiles aside to us, and tells us that he wishes 
to pierce Solitude's secret cell in meditation while 
reclining no farther off from London than under a 
Norwood oak, with the city's spiry turrets in view to 
comfort his really " careless eyes." 

The very fields of the North had laid such hold on 
Wordsworth's affection that they were to him (as 
to Michael) " a pleasurable feeling of blind love, the 
pleasure which there is in life itself." 

Earthlier happy, the poet who was reproached with 
loving his native regions so that his eyes were averted 
from half of human fate. Let Wordsworth avert his 
eyes when and where he chooses : all through his meri- 
dian days he averts his gaze to see for us intently and 
to purify the inmost pulses of our hearts by telling 
what only he sees. Few greater mistakes could be 
made, perhaps, than to think that a poet cannot stare 
out the meaning of human life steadily and as a whole, 
unless he has seen "all." Milton saw more of men 



than Wordsworth : Wordsworth, more of external 
Nature than Milton. Both of them averted their 
gaze from much, and were the stronger, within their 
own powers, for doing this. 

In October of 1787 Wordsworth, supported by 
sums advanced by his uncles and later paid back to 
them, commenced life at St. John's College, Cam- 
bridge. From Hawkshead the change was violent, 
for when the youth of eighteen came to these streets, 
his vision was still filled with moor and moorland 
sheep. Quickly he shrank at the strangeness, the 
feeling that "he was not for that hour or for that 
place." He was not fitted indeed for anything but 
solitude at this period ; a solitude he made for him- 
self, without precisely calling it peace. His first 
biographer aptly quotes a passage from the Recluse 
which explains how " while yet an innocent," Words- 
worth breathed "among wild appetites and blind 
desires and motions of savage instinct that were his 
delight." The simple school at Hawkshead was then 
at its highest power for fulfilling the dreams of its 
founder ; it furnished healthy morals, liberal letters, 
and the joie de vivre. From this exceptional home 
of hearty liberty Wordsworth arrived amid a collec- 
tion of Dons whom, after eight months' study of 
them, the undergraduate despised as false to their 
calling and to the pious spirit of those who founded 
the college. In mature years Wordsworth revised 
and regretted his harsh estimate of life at an English 
university. His counsel, in these later years, was 
that youth should be religiously possessed with a 
sense of the powers that wait on knowledge : that 
universities do moderately enjoy the air of Liberty 



and the light of Truth ; that a wise undergraduate 
should master the classical authors before deeming 
himself fit to gauge the powers of modern writers ; 
and that contempt of authority — however warped 
that authority might have become by customs glorious 
in origin — could lead only to " a treasonable growth 
of indecisive judgments." Even in his early days at 
St. John's, he had his moods of reverence ; rever- 
ence for mighty shades in this college like those of 
Milton and Newton ; the hillside sometimes faded 
from his gaze, and he could not, unmoved, "print 
ground where the grass had yielded to the steps of 
generations of illustrious men." This was the greatest 
gift received by the poet from Cambridge ; the sense 
of needed discipline from the mind of the Past. 

So far as positive book-learning went, Words- 
worth might almost as well have been at Penrith as 
in these St. John's rooms above the college kitchens, 
with Trinity clock by his side to measure the hours 
of indecision. He had been furnished by Hawkshead 
School with sufficient geometry and algebra (as well 
as classics) to enable him to outstrip the freshmen 
of his year ; and so twelve months were gained, as 
it seemed, for a leisure principally spent in reading 
Greek and Latin poetry and in learning Italian. The 
English poets became more and more his companions 
— Chaucer, for instance, read under the hawthorns 
at Trompington. There is a little that is amusing, 
and much that is touching, in the account the lonely 
student gives of his attachment to an ash tree in St. 
John's precincts. He dreamed long dreams under 
this frost-decked tree on winter nights — " scarcely 
Spenser's self could have had more tranquil visions." 



Nothing immediate in the way of poetry sprang 
from these visions, save the few lines entitled On the 
Cam, and the Evening Walk, written and dedicated to 
Dorothy in 1787-1789, published in 1793, and wholly 
occupied, not with Cambridge, which it ignores, 
but with earlier Westmorland experiences. William 
Wordsworth never tried for Academic honours. 
With a pass degree, and a mind made up against the 
Orders for which his guardians had destined him, 
he left the University in 1791. It is true that the 
author of the Prelude, in late years of his life, sup- 
ported college routine as against desultory study ; 
but then he was advising young undergraduates who 
were not poets. A young man with the makings of 
a great poet in him visits a university as a judge of 
appeal quite as much as he moves through it a 
learner. Probably Wordsworth knew better than 
any Dons did what was good for his temper of 
thought. He claims that at least his own plans of 
study at Cambridge increased his original strength 
of contemplation, and deepened his intuitions for the 
highest truths. What more could be desired for a 
" maker " ? Dorothy wrote of her brother Christo- 
pher, at Cambridge in 1793 : " He is not so ardent 
in any of his pursuits as William is, but he is yet 
particularly attached to the same pursuits which have 
so irresistible an influence over William, and deprive 
him of the power of chaining his attention to others 
discordant to his feelings." Christopher did eventu- 
ally learn to chain his powers to things as they came 
— some, doubtless, discordant — and died Master of 
Trinity and pastor of Buxted. William did not learn 
thus to chain his attention, being William, but he 



gained a cure all of his own, in which he remains 
for ever a sure shepherd of souls on the mountain 
tops of beauty. 

It is our business here to deal, not with the Cam- 
bridge life of the poet, but with some of the Northern 
vacation rambles which diversified that existence. 

The first of these breathing-times came in the 
summer's Long Vacation of 1788. It was not to his 
much-loved sister that he homed his way. Home, 
to him, was Hawkshead. To see the same moorlands, 
fish in the same lake, sleep in the accustomed bed at 
dear Dame Tyson's — this was the breath of life the 
Cambridge recluse had felt he needed most : 

" When from our better selves we have too long 
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop 
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired, 
How gracious and benign is Solitude ! " 

— Prelude, iv. 345. 

One likes to think of the undergraduate swing- 
ing along the road from Kendal (iv. 10), past Crook 
and the Quakers' Meeting House, to the point a little 
lower where he could in his man's voice attempt the 
shrill ferry-cry of the Hawkshead schoolboys. From 
the Furness side, George Braithwaite the ferryman 
heard and recognised the summons ; boat and boat- 
man were ready for the wayfarer when he reached 
the hither brink of the regal mere. Almost the first 
welcome the traveller received at Hawkshead was 
from a dog. In the later days of his school existence 
the boy, retiring from sport like a sick lover, had 
struck up a friendship of loneliness with a cur able 
to divine that he needed loving and watching. At 
times when poetic ecstasy hastened the pace of the 



youth and loosened the excited tongue, the dog 
walked on ahead. Should any wayfarer then approach 
from the other direction, the dog barked a warning to 
his adopted master, lest the stranger might be allowed 
to share the dog's impression that a man who talked 
to himself like this must be crazy. No sooner had 
the glad visitor from Cambridge caused his step to 
echo in the cobbled alleys of Hawkshead again than 
the terrier appeared and immediately assumed his 
former duty of adjutant or sentinel. The young man 
strayed round Esthwaite, and " his soul put off her 
evil, naked as in the presence of God." He now 
moved overpowered with the conviction that man, 
living within the light of high endeavours, daily 
spreads abroad influences that cannot fail. In the 
village he marked the deserted sunny nook where 
some old labourer used to sit eking out his pulseless 
days ; he marked the plain girls grown pretty women, 
and the former pretty girls, plain. With a new eye 
he contemplated his friend the forester, and the 
shepherd on the hills, as well as the village wiseacres. 
Probably Daniel was dead, the aged culprit so 
gently described in The Two Thieves that Charles 
Lamb always cried when he read the poem. 

But the chief delight was to company again with 
good Anne Tyson. Specially of a Sunday was her 
" boy-back-again " proud of her — a gentle, greyhaired 
dame, yet moving gallantly like a swash-buckler 
cavalier, as she strode churchward equipped in almost 
monumental trim, bonnet and cloak of stiff velvet. 
Later in the day she would address to her loved 
colleger words of pious counsel, with her finger on 
the Holy Book. When the homilist fell back nodding, 



in the afternoon's heat, her charge laid the big Bible 
under her head for a pillow. Anne's was " a clear but 
shallow stream of Sunday piety." In earlier years 
she had been in domestic service with a Coniston iron- 
master named Knott, and her garrulity regarding Mr. 
Knott's fine estates in Scotland is mentioned with 
affectionate amusement in Dorothy's Scottish Tour. 
The dame lived to welcome yet again her fondly re- 
membered pupil when he was a father, accompanied 
by his son John. This last visit was received at 
Colthouse, near Hawkshead, a village where Anne 
died in May of 1796. Her body lies in Hawkshead 
churchyard. Upon the grave of this good creature 
faithful Wordsworth's thoughts " fell like dew." 

In reminiscences of boyhood and youth at Hawks- 
head, Wordsworth gives no token of what many 
folk call religious experience. Church prayers, Sun- 
day school, sermons, choir, do not exist in his ex- 
pressed memory. Christian dogmatics, even the 
person and name of Jesus, are equally passed by. In 
book fifth of the Prelude there is indeed an obscure 
and laboured passage which may be read as rendering 
homage to early lessons of piety, but which ends with 
the characteristic statement — it need not be gainsaid 
— that " we," the poets, are to be hallowed only less 
than Nature herself or God's pure word miraculously 
revealed. But enough has already been chronicled here 
to show that Wordsworth was, in his own mystical 
way, a prophet consecrated and religiously possessed. 

Early days of doubtless innocuous Fell-side junket- 
ings caused compunction. The gawds, the games, 
and the swarm of heady schemes, Wordsworth con- 
sidered, had conspired to lure his mind from habitual 



quest of " feeding " pleasure. Many of us will rather 
feel comforted to realise that the seer was not without 
some nights and days of youth when whim was in 
the ascendant and merriment declined to be barred 
out. No ! The austere priest of Nature deems that 
still more of solitariness should have been his while 
he grew up at Hawkshead. Trivial pleasures were a 
poor exchange for books and the ever-surprising loveli- 
ness of earth. On this first return from Cambridge 
there came to the student a consecration clearer than 
that which reaches most poets. In one of the valley 
farms (Prelude, iv. 310) Wordsworth had spent the 
entire night dancing with the girls, under the be- 
nignant sanction of assembled age. The cock had 
crowed. The rising sun made all too clear the invita- 
tion of the homeward path cleaving the copse. The 
sea lay laughing in the distance. From the vaporous 
meadows and the dale of song-birds rose to the 
empyrean the solid mountains drenched in gold, 
brighter than the clouds above them. The heart of 
the arrested reveller was full to the brim. Leaving 
the farmhouse, he made no vows : but vows were 
made for him ; he walked on, that morning, in a new 
blessedness that was never quite to leave him, " a 
dedicated spirit, else sinning greatly." 

On page 389 of the third volume of Knight's latest 
(Macmillan) edition of the Poems, a note is made 
of the various theories as to the crag on which Words- 
worth thus received his consecration. In spite of all 
these ingenious conjectures the student — who must 
wait for a day of clear weather for the journey — is 
advised to set out from Hawkshead market square, 
past the school to Hannakin Corner, thence turning to 



the right up Grisdale Hill, following the road till 
beyond a post- box he finds an iron gate on the left, 
through which he will make his way, thereafter pursu- 
ing a track over the heather to the highest peak of 
the moorland crowned with a flagstaff, and known as 
Sans Keldin. There he will gaze upon a view entirely 
corresponding to all the circumstances, a panorama 
stretching east over Yorkshire, south over Morecambe 
Bay, west over Coniston to the Cumberland coast, 
and north to Helvellyn and Skiddaw. Local feeling 
is now firm in considering that Sans Keldin was the 
platform whence Wordsworth surveyed that morning's 
" memorable pomp." 

The exquisite Prelude incident summarised on the 
previous page is followed by a sombre encounter, to- 
wards the end of the holiday, with a cast-off soldier, 
one moonlight night, on the hilly ridge between the 
two Sawreys — an encounter that shows the poet learn- 
ing to value unbreathing Nature much, and breathing 
Endurance more. We shall be in error if we do not 
realise how thorough is the poet's confession that both 
of these lessons were gradually borne in upon a mind 
that by native constitution valued only subjective 
feeling. In the eighth book of the Prelude (300) 
this unbosoming is made, and apparently with re- 
miniscence of existence at Anne Tyson's cottage. 
The poet expresses a thankfulness that he grew up 
preserved from the restraint of over-watchful eyes, 
guarded from too early intercourse with the de- 
formities of crowded life and the ensuing laughters 
and contempts which no one should permit to himself 
who considers man's dignity and destiny. "Yet, 
Friend," Wordsworth proceeds (340), " deem not that 



humanity thus early took a pre-eminent place in my 
mind. Nature herself, at this unripe time, was but 
secondary to my own pursuits and animal activities 
and all their trivial pleasures. When these had 
drooped and gradually expired, Nature, prized for her 
own sake, became a joy — and onwards, through late 
youth, until not less than twenty-two summers had 
been told." [This would be at Blois in France.] " Man 
was subordinate in my interest to the visible forms 
and viewless agencies of Nature. She was a passion 
to me : Man was an occasional delight, an accidental 
grace : his hour had not yet come." 

Here let us pause in our chronicle to interpose a 
reflection. It is only after experience in revolutionary 
France that our author will fully yield his mind to 
the supreme interest of studying Man. In the Cocker- 
mouth references throughout the poetry, we hear, as 
it were, an seolian harp attuning itself to catch the 
breeze. In the passage just paraphrased and in such 
another passage as the incident of the Ulverston 
Sands given on page 86, the harp is content to feel its 
music ; at length the music becomes interpretative 
of external Nature ; and ultimately the harp sinks — 
not exultingly, quite — into the function of bearing up 
upon its harmonies the lyric cry of man. To appre- 
hend these early stages of our poet's development helps 
our understanding of the great Ode on Immortality, 
which is so largely a poem of landscape, after all is 
said. This question remains — Did Wordsworth, boy 
and youth, neglect Man for Nature because he had 
never awaked to curiosity about Man ? That can 
hardly be. It is rather to be credited that the lot of 
William and Dorothy and their brothers had not 



inspired them with reverence for their " betters," and 
neither in actuality, at Cockermouth, Penrith, Hawks- 
head, Cambridge — nor in the mouldering monuments 
of the past, nor in reading of history, had William 
Wordsworth stumbled upon what would call forth 
from him such a sense of authority as he found, first, 
in self-wonder, and, secondly, in communings with 
extra-human nature. Even when the Cumbrian poet 
arrives at the point where he bows to learn of Man, this 
Man is not the hero of history, but a shepherd sort, a 
peasant, passing his existence almost under the same 
laws of stern simplicity that develop the mystery of 
mountains. The eighth book of the Prelude (293) is 
again our instructor here : — 

" Call ye these appearances 
Which I beheld of shepherds in my youth, 
This sanctity of Nature given to man, 
A shadow, a delusion ? Ye who pore 
On the dead letter, miss the spirit of things ; 
Whose truth is not a motion or a shape 
Instinct with vital functions, but a block 
Or waxen image which yourselves have made, 
And ye adore ! But blessed be the God 
Of Nature and of Man that this was so ; 
That men before my inexperienced eyes 
Did first present themselves thus purified, 
Removed, and to a distance that was fit : 
And so we all of us in some degree 
Are led to knowledge, wheresoever led, 
And howsoever ; were it otherwise, 
And we found evil fast as we find good 
In our first years, or think that it is found, 
How could the innocent heart bear up and live ! 
But doubly fortunate my lot ; not here 
Alone, that something of a better life 
Perhaps was round me than it is the privilege 
Of most to move in, but that first I looked 
At man through objects that were great or fair.'" 
145 K 


Wordsworth's first Vacation, as we review it, is 
seen to be his return to the elementals needful for his 
spiritual life. The entire holiday was spent at Hawks- 
head, except for a day or two in London ere Cam- 
bridge life was resumed. Hills and rivers and the free 
air that the bees love had renovated his being. Con- 
secration had touched him to the quick. He was 
feeling towards the Odes. Descriptive Sketches and 
An Evening Walk would emerge as a result earlier 
than the Odes. Portions, indeed, of the Evening 
Walk were committed to writing ere the poet left 
Furness. Its embryo lines were still further back in 
conception, having been conned over at Cambridge 
in the winter nights when the student stood by the 
hour in the shadow of the frosted ash, gazing through 
its tasselled branches at the stars and making believe 
to himself that he was under the Hawkshead sky. 

The Long Vacation of the subsequent year, 1789, 
was given to the companionship of Dorothy, his sister, 
and Mary Hutchinson, at Penrith. Before or during 
this holiday, the Evening Walk was finished. Arriv- 
ing at Penrith by a circuitous route through the 
valley of Dove and Yorkshire, Wordsworth haunted 
the Beacon and roamed the country around it, full 
of a poet's quest of material. The twin-minded 
brother and sister sauntered in Brougham Castle at 
early morning and by evening light, venturing some- 
times on the perilous towers now forbidden to visitors 
— nesting themselves at other hours on these airy peaks 
of ruddy masonry to enjoy the motion of the breeze 
in tufts of crannied grass or harebells, while the plains 
below sweltered in midday heat ; or through some 
crumbling window gathering " with one mind " the 



rich reward of turret-climbers in the retreating 
landscape. The surmise is pleasant and natural that 
this landscape would not be the Border slopes but 
rather the hills of Skiddaw range barring the gazers 
from Cockermouth and far-away Hawkshead. Nor 
is another surmise unwarrantable — that the poet, 
between the dear silences of hearts at one, would 
roll out lines descriptive of this very land on the 
horizon, from the poem now completed and copied 
out, and already dedicated in manuscript to that 
helpmeet sister restored to the author after such 
absence that she seemed " a gift then first bestowed." 
Whether he then spoke of a boy's dream that was to 
come true just beyond those hills, we are forbidden to 
do more than hope. The retrospective * * Recluse ' ' frag- 
ment (not published till 1888) begins by telling how 
a roving schoolboy, on holiday, came to the verge of 
a mountain ridge, whence, looking down, he sighed 
and said, " What fortune to live here — or here, even, 
to die ! " That " calmest, fairest spot on earth, with 
all its unappropriated good," was to become his own 
— not merely his own but the bower for " a younger 
Orphan of a home extinct." This was Grasmere : 
Dorothy at Grasmere. 

Penrith itself had few attractions for these chil- 
dren of nature. No town life at any time attracted 
them. Their lot at Cockermouth, to admit the truth, 
had been nominally existence in a town, but with 
the freedom of river, meadow, and mountainward 
paths at the very garden-gate. For the noisier, larger 
market centre where lived the grandparents, Dorothy 
gives us the feeling of brother and sister on a page of 
the Tour in Scotland : " We were glad to leave Dum- 



fries, which is no agreeable place to them who do not 
love the bustle of a town that seems to be rising up to 
wealth. We could think of little else but poor Burns, 
and his moving about on that unpoetic ground." And 
yet Dumfries had lying all round it not a little of 
the feudal romance in stone that attracted Words- 
worth so feebly, and his sister — so far as her writings 
guide us — not at all. 

It is scarcely possible that brother and sister, in 
these days of renewed communion, did not discuss 
poetic plans. What could these plans be ? No better 
conjecture can be offered than that they may have 
coincided with the project of works set forth in the 
first book of the Prelude. Dorothy was perhaps 
also invited by her brother to discuss style as well as 
subject, in literature, for the sixth book of the Prelude 
(105) leads us to this period as one in which the poet 
was advancing toward his doctrine of speech as simple 
expression rather than as " diction " : — 

" My inner judgment 
Not seldom differed from my taste in books, 
As if it appertained to another mind, 
And yet the books which then I valued most 
Are dearest to me now ; for, having scanned, 
Not heedlessly, the laws, and watched the forms 
Of Nature, in that knowledge I possessed 
A standard, often usefully applied, 
Even when unconsciously, to things removed 
From a familiar sympathy. — In fine, 
I was a better judge of thoughts than words, 
Misled in estimating words, not only 
By common inexperience of youth, 
But by the trade in classic niceties, 
The dangerous craft of culling term and phrase 
From languages that want the living voice 
To carry meaning to the natural heart ; 
To tell us what is passion, what is truth, 
What reason, what simplicity and sense." 


In this period of the student's second Long Vaca- 
tion, we see brother and sister wrapt in a mutual love 
that was never for an instant of their lives broken. 
No doubt Dorothy deserves the greater share of credit 
for this continuity of sympathy. William not only 
received the affections of those around him, but used 
them for poetry, as Goethe did, albeit Goethe carried 
out the manufacture in a manner which cannot be 
laid to the charge of his British brother. It seems 
true to say that Dorothy was the predominant partner 
in this compact of affection, and yet it is clear enough 
that William did show for her, perhaps especially in 
his youth, steadfast and reverent love. It is but a year 
or two after this Long Vacation that Wordsworth 
writes thus to his sister : " Oh, my dear, dear sister ! 
with what transport shall I again meet you ! with 
what rapture shall I again wear out the day in your 
sight ! . . . I see you in a moment running, or rather 
flying, to my arms." 

Nevertheless, " Another maid there was." Before 
we consider this other maid, it may be well that we 
should acknowledge an absence, in Wordsworth's 
personal life, of love for woman as the master passion. 
Here, perhaps, he stands with Milton, girt by im- 
penetrable austerities of intellect and spirit. Words- 
worth worshipped in his intimate heart no Laura or 
Beatrice or Highland Mary ; but thrice, at least — nay, 
we will say, four times — he has gone near to plumbing 
poetically the depths of man's love for woman. The 
first case in which he greatly moves us with this 
theme is to be found in the group of " Lucy " poems. 
These poems were written in Germany at that de- 
liberately constructive period when Wordsworth 



searched through his experiences and recollections for 
matter fit to be made into verse. Short, profound, the 
" Lucy" poems will be discovered by analysis to be curi- 
ously abstract. Their words present us with a spirit 
rather than with any body which we may compare 
with the sweethearts of other poets. Whoever the 
human original for " Lucy " may have been — if there 
was any original (and the reticence of all the Words- 
worths on this matter pricks our curiosity) — one is 
compelled to the conclusion that the poet at Goslar, 
rubbing his chilly hands over his writings in that year 
of abnormal frost, was determinedly a composer, a 
maker, a seizer of themes which he transmuted and 
rearranged. The Goslar habit of mind is explained 
to us in the Fenwick note to a " Poem of Childhood " 
not ranked by the commentators in the " Lucy" group, 
although the title happens to be Lucy Gray, or Soli- 
tude. Wordsworth had been told of a little girl who 
fell into a Yorkshire canal during a snowstorm. This 
is the whole genesis of Lucy Gray — nothing from his 
own life, but a mere bit of hearsay connected with 
one of the last things easy for imagination to deal 
with, a ditch of water for carrying coals. What 
does Wordsworth reveal to us about his fashioning of 
this poem ? Here is his exposition of his methods at 
Goslar : " The way in which the incident was treated, 
and the spiritualising of the character, might furnish 
hints for contrasting the imaginative influences which 
I have endeavoured to throw over common life, with 
Crabbe's matter-of-fact style of handling subjects of 
the same kind. This is not spoken to his disparage- 
ment, far from it, but to direct the attention of 
thoughtful readers into whose hands these notes may 



fall, to a comparison that may enlarge the circle of 
their sensibilities, and tend to produce in them a 
catholic judgment." Now, sooth to tell, the ballad 
of Lucy Gray is a little too long ; it does not sustain 
itself at an even height of inspiration. But if any 
reader will eviscerate this ballad, and put together 
the first three and the last two quatrains, he will have 
before him a poem precisely of the quality which we 
find in the true " Lucy " group. Let us see : 

" Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray : 
And, when I crossed the wild, 
I chanced to see at break of day 
The solitary child. 

No mate, no comrade Lucy knew ; 
She dwelt on a wide moor, 
— The sweetest thing that ever grew 
Beside a human door ! 

You yet may spy the fawn at play, 
The hare upon the green ; 
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray 
Will never more be seen. 

— Yet some maintain that to this day 
She is a living child ; 
That you may see sweet Lucy Gray 
Upon the lonesome wild. 

O'er rough and smooth she trips along 
And never looks behind ; 
And sings a solitary song 
That whistles in the wind." 

Here we have a lyric which, though it be as 
abstract as the accepted " Lucy " poems, yet moves 
us with the same force that they contain. Had 
Wordsworth presented us with Lucy Gray in this 



form, we should have been eager to find a child- 
original for it in his own circle of experience — a need- 
less quest, since the whole lyric is evolved from a girl, 
unknown to the poet, who fell into a canal. The ex- 
ample proves that, for all we know, Wordsworth at 
Goslar marvellously evolved the accepted group of 
"Lucy" poems from a basis of fact just as minute. 
Nevertheless Lucy and Wordsworth's feeling for Lucy 
remain at least as high in the poetic firmament as 
Burns's Mary and Burns's affection for that immortal 

It is possible, then, that Lucy is a mere figment 
of imagination, or was some slight crumb of human 
character highly poetised. It is understood that 
the Wordsworth family — reticent by mere habit, in 
face of innuendoes made long ago by Miss Martineau 
— possesses no record or hint about an original for 
Lucy, and sees no reason to suppose that any serious 
affair gave rise to these poems of highly spiritualised 
passion. But there is another case in which Words- 
worth seizes a subject and raises it aloft in the 
realms of love- expression, and here at any rate the 
delight comes from no empty vision. Touring 
through Scotland with Dorothy in August of 1803 — 
an epoch when the flame of imagination was burn- 
ing in him brightly — Wordsworth met two Highland 
girls by Loch Lomond. Dorothy here exhibited her 
usual function, and prepared the way for poetry in 
her brother by first falling in love with these girls 
herself. She writes : " One of the girls was ex- 
ceedingly beautiful ; and the figures of both of them, 
in grey plaids falling to their feet, their faces only 
being uncovered, excited our attention before we 



spoke to them ; but they answered us so sweetly that 
we were quite delighted, at the same time that they 
stared at us with an innocent look of wonder. I think 
I never heard the English language sound more 
sweetly than from the mouth of the elder of these 
girls, while she stood at the gate answering our in- 
quiries, her face flushed with the rain ; her pronuncia- 
tion was clear and distinct, without difficulty, yet slow, 
as if like a foreign speech." In William Words- 
worth's mind one of these graceful, softly-speaking 
Gaels emerged as The Highland Girl; and twenty 
years after the writing of that poem, Wordsworth re- 
marked, " Approaching the close of my seventy-third 
year, I have a most vivid remembrance of her, and 
the beautiful objects with which she was surrounded." 
In the concluding portion of The Three Cottage 
Girls, we are again presented to this lass of Inver- 
snaid, with the same magic — magic such that the few 
lines forming these two pieces by the English artist 
impress us with a divinity of breathing beauty at once 
more simple and more queenly than Walter Scott's 
figure of Ellen, though the whole cumulative force of 
his Lady of the Lake is bent to produce an ideal maid. 

In " Lucy," then, and in the " Highland Girl," 
Wordsworth has borne himself as a great poet and a 
gentleman of perfect chivalry. Purer love and deeper 
respect for woman's loveliness can hardly be found 
in literature. 

The third instance in which Wordsworth touches 
us to the quick of sympathy regarding man's passion 
for woman is the thirteenth of the " Poems founded 
on the Affections" — 9 Tis said that some have died 
for love. There are phrases here that are the sublime 



of anguish. The fourth case is formed by that 
perfectly balanced tribute to Womanhood, She was 
a Phantom of Delight, a production of composite 
emotions ; for while the poet, not without some 
obscurity in the dedication, gave forth this picture as 
representing his own wife, he has informed us that 
the opening of the poem — and therefore the germ of 
it — arose in his mind while he contemplated in vision 
the girl of Inversnaid. 

So much for the poet's reverent enjoyment of 
woman's beauty and power, as they may be passed 
through imagination. For the real woman of his 
life, we have to be content with affection less 
glowing. At Penrith, when William and Dorothy 
attended Dame Birkett's school, a certain John 
Hutchinson traded as a tobacconist. No doubt, as 
tobacco was then an expensive luxury, a tobacconist 
would be reckoned to hold a high position in the 
town's commerce. Hutchinson did not belong to a 
Cumberland stock ; the roots of his family history lay 
about Newcastle and Durham. Not prominent as a 
townsman, and only once mentioned in the public 
records of town life, John Hutchinson, a bachelor, 
married Mary Monkhouse, a spinster, in the Penrith 
parish church on the ninth day of February 1768. 
He died aged fifty on the 19th of May 1785, and Mary 
his wife, daughter of John Monkhouse of Penrith, de- 
parted this life on the 31st of March 1783, aged thirty- 
eight years. The family tombstone can be seen near 
the parish church on the right hand of the main door 
as one leaves the building; and it is figured in the 
foreground of one of our pictures. John and Mary 
Hutchinson had eight children. The church books 



record that Sarah, their daughter, saw the light on 
the 20th of June 1775 (a date different from that 
given on the lady's tomb at Grasmere) ; and her sister 
Joanna was born on the twenty-fifth of November 
1780. Of the eight Hutchinson children, the only 
one whose birth is not registered in the parish books 
is Mary, so we have to trust the Wordsworths, who 
did not excel in accuracy about dates, for the state- 
ment that Mary was born in 1770 at Penrith. In 
conversation with an American gentleman called 
Inman, William Wordsworth remarked that he be- 
came acquainted with Mary Hutchinson when she 
was three years of age. A little later he and his 
sister found themselves her companions at Dame 
Birkett's school. For the rest of their lives these 
three beings were intertwined in affections and 
interests. Sarah and Mary and Joanna Hutchinson 
were girls of native sense, pure in every fibre of the 
mind, strong as pure, not highly educated, as the 
world counts education, but furnished with wholesome 
zests, tact, and good humour ; all three able to toler- 
ate William Wordsworth's peculiarities, all three his 
devoted friends as long as they lived. "Another 
maid there was " ; so begins that passage in the sixth 
book of the Prelude (224), which leads us from the 
poet's communion with Dorothy to the expression of 
his love for Mary Hutchinson, love declared during 
William's second Long Vacation. 

" Another maid there was, who also shed 
A gladness o'er that season, then to me, 
By her exulting outside look of youth 
And placid under-countenance, first endeared ; 
That other spirit, Coleridge ! who is now 


So near to us, that meek confiding heart, 
So reverenced by us both. O'er paths and fields 
In all that neighbourhood, through narrow lanes 
Of eglantine, and through the shady woods, 
And o'er the Border Beacon, and the waste 
Of naked pools, and common crags that lay 
Exposed on the bare fell, were scattered love, 
The spirit of pleasure, and youth's golden gleam. 11 

It is at this point, then, in his evolution, the period 
of his engagement to wise and good Mary Hutchinson, 
that William Wordsworth for the first time is able 
to look from Penrith Beacon upon his inheritance, 
Inglewood, the land of northern romance, with eyes 
undimmed by sadness. The Beacon and its story had 
hitherto stood for much that was melancholy, and he 
had already in his heart renounced that Beacon and its 
surroundings of suggestion. Now the Beacon becomes 
luminant to him, not with romance of Eld, but with 
present love for a woman, a woman who shall be 
carried away from this renounced inheritance, and 
cared for in a bower of the other Land, the longed-for 
Land of consecration and the poet's dream. 





Like a stranger-swan taking the water for the first 
time, upon some Mere theretofore unruffled by 
any royal bird, our poet breaks into possession of 
Lakeland with his earliest avowed production, An 
Evening Walk. It was issued through Johnson, 
Cowper's London publisher, in 1793, and we have 
seen that the composition was prepared in 1787-89. 
No manuscript of this poem exists, but one sus- 
pects that the human episode was added in, about 
1792 or 1793, just at the dawn of the French 
war which drew the poet's thoughts so much to the 
wives and widows of soldiers. To Professor Knight 
all lovers of Wordsworth are so much indebted 
that one feels almost guilty of ingratitude in differing 
from his experienced judgment about any particular. 
He says : " There was little in An Evening Walk 
and Descriptive Sketches — in the form in which they 
first appeared — to lead to the belief that an origi- 
nal poet had arisen in England." Too crowded 
with uninterrupted landscape effects though An 
Evening Walk be, it is newly and nobly true to the 
country of Wordsworth's youth. It is here main- 
tained that the innate truthfulness of poetic insight 
marking the first edition of An Evening Walk de- 
serves, even more than the occasional power of the 
first edition of Descriptive Sketches, such eulogy as 



Coleridge accorded to this latter work : " Seldom, if 
ever, was the emergence of a great original poetic 
genius above the horizon more evidently announced." 
The verse-structure of An Evening Walk is that of 
pentameters rhymed in couplets — the structure which 
Goldsmith and Thomson transferred to the study 
of country subjects from Pope's city-reared poesy. 
Possibly Professor Knight and others have considered 
that the singing quality of this early poem of Words- 
worth's is but low, and no doubt the reader of the 
Walk does fret at the constant suggestion of Gold- 
smith's medium of expression. But the content of An 
Evening Walk — the material — remains an astonishing 
landmark in letters. That this is so, will probably 
be admitted by those who care to dwell upon our next 
few pages, in which, for the sake of gaining an unem- 
barrassed consideration of the poet's subject-matter, 
an attempt has been made to render the poem in a 
close paraphrase of prose. An unimportant intro- 
duction to the poem is not here represented. The 
descriptions in the Walk seem to deal chiefly with the 
Windermere region. 

When the wan moon, in the south, is brooding, 
and deep-embattled clouds are spotting the northern 
cliffs, the herds, shortened in the water, gaze at the 
tempting, unattainable shade cast by a barren wall 
and stakes stretching far into the lake. Schoolboys, 
prone upon the ground, or humming in sport around 
the elm, form a glimmering picture. In the brown 
park, flocks and troubled deer shake twinkling tail 
and glancing ear. Thirsty horses, from the unshaded 
"intake" on the hill, gaze at the flood, and in dumb 



distress mark the passing labourer, and strain with 
their necks at the gate he closes behind him, watching 
him wistfully till his path dips into the river shadows. 
The spirit of quiet leads us up a huddling stream that 
with water-breaks brightens a sombre gill. Above, 
thick branches close over the wild waves seeking rest 
in their brown bason, while shrubs and rock-moss 
and pale wood- weeds grow downwards to them. 
High over all, subtle sunbeams fleck withered briars 
that fringe the crags. Save this, the only light ad- 
mitted here is a small cascade illuminating with 
sparkling froth a gloom like that of twilight. [In 
various editions Wordsworth works fondly over this 
idea.] A grey bridge lies hidden among the ivy. [A 
prose note tells that the scene is to be found at the 
lower waterfall of Rydal Hall gardens.] 

The eye roams to cliffs across which, half-way 
up, the silvery kite wheels on whistling wing. Slant- 
ing watery lights, falling from parting clouds, travel 
swiftly along the base of the precipice, cheer- 
ing its naked waste of scattered shingle and grass 
lichens and scanty moss. Scarce can the thistle 
there grow its beard, or the foxglove peep. [This is 
right " Wordsworth " : a landscape-artist's eye for 
an effect beyond paint]. All day long the stone-chat, 
bird of deserts, makes itself heard. Potters can be 
descried goading their panniered train up the steep 
mountain tracks. The peasant launches himself 
from the cliff's edge in his sled, cleaving a head- 
long pathway. The lonely mountain horse catches 
the westering rays as it browses amid purple heath 
and " rings of green " and broom. In contrast to the 
idle mountain steed, downward thunders the timber 



waggon with its team slackened and confounded by 
the sharp slope. The flocks, still in the light, feed 
on by the sheltering cross-shaped walls, giving no 
thought to winter's blast. Lightly down-leaping the 
rill dashes with song over the rough rock. Three 
humble bells ring out their rustic chime from the 
lonely chapel : the hammering of boat-builders rises 
from the lake ; and, more remote, the quarry blasts 
can be heard. 

Even here, where endless woods sweep round the 
blue pomp of lakes, cliffs, and falling cataracts, the 
simplest sights and sounds of mountain farms give 
cheer : as, for instance, the cock with tail feathers 
unfurling and furling like a stately canopy over his 
royal brow ; he stands a-tiptoe, to shrill from his 
clarion throat among his sister-wives, and is faintly 
threatened by the far-off answering farms. 

We love to watch the processions glistening under 
the pines and yews that overhang the great Quarry ; 
the panniered dwarf horses, the men, the wains. 
How busy that enormous hive, in which Echo 
plays with varied noise ! Some toil in profound 
gulfs, looking like pigmies, the clink of their chisels 
hardly heard. Some, dimly to be descried, between 
aerial cliffs walk viewless planks ; and others, again, 
are hanging in dizzy baskets before the ceaselessly 
ringing rocks of pale blue, glad to work, and to sing 
at their work. 

Now, impending on a cloud above a cliff that 
flames a-top, the broadening sun appears, its orb 
divided by a long blue bar. It touches presently the 
purple crag that flings its shadow on the pictured 
lake. On the other side rise cliffs, and they too, 



with towers and woods, furnish a prospect all on fire. 
The deeper fissures still shower purple through the 
fainter gold ; each speck of turf between the rocks 
becomes green-gold, and the sun's rays penetrate 
the central gloom of the forest to pick out with 
yellow, here and there, a bole or two. In the valley, 
the shepherd waves his hat. He is directing his 
winding dog that, barking busily among the glitter- 
ing cliffs, hunts, by direction, the intercepted flocks. 
Through the oaks overhanging the road, radiance 
shoots along the tawny earth, wild weeds, twisted 
roots ; the Druid temple lights itself up ; all the 
bubbling brooks turn to liquid gold. Lessened to 
a curve, the day-star sparkles once, and sinks behind 
the hill. 

In these lonely valleys — if the silver-haired sages 
of the hamlets may be trusted — this is the time when, 
light retreating, up the hills strange apparitions mock 
rustic beholders. 

Lo ! a figure of despair, spurring his steed with 
violence along the midway cliffs. Unhurt he pursues a 
flight prolonged amid the gazes that at every moment 
expect his fall. Now a gorgeous show of shadowy 
horsemen moves about the hillsides, the van oft- 
gilded by the evening's ray while the rear gleams 
sullenly through iron -brown. The silent admiring 
crowd in the valley stands till the pageant gradually 
loses itself, crossing the mountain-tops, and the soli- 
tary beacon tips his spiry head with the last glow 
of sunlight. 

While the solemn evening shadows sail down 
the valley on slow-moving pinions, and the oak fronts 
the bright west with strong lines of darkening bough 

X61 L 


and foliage, it is delightful to stay beside the glowing 
lake, where along its secret bays coils the road, past 
the tumbling wood-rills running in transport to the 
dimpling deeps: delightful to watch the winding 
swan pursued along the meandering shore by obse- 
quious Grace. He swells his lifted chest, flinging 
backward his bridling neck between towering wings. 
With proud stateliness he divides the waters and 
surveys them in glorious mastery ; and even as he 
floats along, the silvered waters light up, proud of 
the varying arch and the moveless, snowy form. The 
female swan follows, meeker in her charms, busy with 
domestic cares and affections, furtively eyeing and 
attending her lord, the while her little brown ones 
swim by her side, nibbling the water-lilies as they 
pass. The mother, in her cares, forgets to be proud 
of her beauty. Herself unweariedly alert, she calls 
them to her in turn and bids them rest their wearied 
feet by mounting on her back to nestle in the em- 
braces of her mantling wings. 

Long may ye roam these hermit waves, hidden 
in clefts at the foot of the birch-besprinkled crags ! 
Long may ye haunt these fairy holms of Winander 
that, untrodden, silent, green, protect with shadow 
the hidden wave ! Violets and lily-of-the-valley waft 
their fragrance over the evening waters from yonder 
islet, which, though her far-off twilight ditty steals to 
it, never has felt the trip of harmless milkmaid's feet. 

Yonder tuft conceals your home, your bower, with 
its floor of fresh water-rushes : its walls are of the 
long grass and the willow, the tall poplar swinging 
aloft over it. Issuing thence, unwieldily stalking, 
ye crush your flowery walk with broad black feet. 



At breezy morn ye can hear, as from a door, the 
hound, the tramping horse, and the mellow horn : in 
peace ye may lave your lithe necks in their own re- 
flections mingled with the visual stirring of the green 
lake-bottom. Never ruder sound reaches your abode 
than dashing of the stormy wave or wind tossing the 
trees in the shadow of which ye rest. Ye never, like 
hapless human vagrants, throw your young on winter's 
winding-sheet of snow ! 

Fair cygnet, caressed by all a mother's joy, perhaps 
some wretch, watching thee, has called thee blest ! 
Some human mother, faint and conquered by the 
breathless summer heat, has dragged her babes thus 
far, while arrowy fires shot through her and extorted 
fevered groans. With joints locked by fatigue, she 
painfully steps out again, backward-gazing. Scarce 
has she left her seat than she feels strengthless to teach 
her little ones to struggle a few short loaded steps 
along the burning path. She shakes her numbed and 
slumbering arm, and raises eyes through tears to the 
unshaded height of the mountain. She calls to her 
soldier husband — lying asleep far off on Minden's 
charnel field. She bids him share her woes ! But 
why wistfully gaze into Hope's deserted well ? The 
pathway is choked, and the pitcher is shattered. [A 
passage to be noted as later enlarged for Margaret.^ 
See her now, on cold blue nights, denied shelter in 
hut or straw-built shed, point out a shooting star in 
the sky, to turn the sleepy cry of her children into 
a silent smile. Her eldest grief, marking from the 
forest's depth the staring moon, lifts his hand Heaven- 
ward with a prayer-like motion, and demands if his 
far-off father can also see that good and kindly star. 



Ah me ! There is as little light in the grave as there 
is between moon and moon. [A thought seemingly 
suggested in part by Gray's Journal : " dark inter- 
lunar cave."] 

Often, when the low-hung clouds hide the summer 
stars, and the valleys show no sign of fire, the mother, 
couched where the brook brawls beside the painful road 
under the bat-haunted ash-trees, will forget the chilling 
dews and the distant clock, while she watches smiles 
coining to her children's faces through the dusk, and 
they delightedly play in her lap with the harmless glow- 
worm, tossed from hand to hand, many other circlets 
of green radiance gleaming the while upon the ground. 

Oh ! when bitter showers assail her steps and the 
storm blast descends through the hills like a torrent, 
the mother's breath no longer suffices to thaw the 
children's fingers ; their frozen arms are able no longer 
to clasp her neck. Their chattering lips, scarce heard, 
spread chill upon her shoulder : to her cold back their 
still colder bosoms send a shudder. Blindly she 
wanders through the unlit heath. She is led by the 
dank hand of Fear, and dogged by Death. She turns 
her neck for the last kiss; but with angry shriek 
Death breaks off the kiss. She has dimly descried a 
roofless stone. Despairingly halting by it, she snatches 
her babes from her shoulder and clasps them. " Now, 
relentless Tempest, shoot thine arrows, and fall, Fire ! 
But let us perish heart to heart ! " Weak roof to 
shield two babes — a cowering form ! Faint fire to 
warm — a dying heart ! Fond Mother, press the kiss ! 
Vain the dread that thy flooded cheek will wet them 
with its tears ! Soon shall the Lightning hold his 
torch to show the little ones coffined in thine arms. 



Sweet is the mingling of sounds coming from far, 
along calm lakes, when the folding star peeps, the 
duck dabbling in the rustling sedge, the feeding pike 
starting up to the surface near the shore, the reed- 
stirring swan wetting the bill that drips still on the 
still water; the heron shooting upward with out- 
stretched neck, because the trodden shore resounds. 
While such a tranquillity sinks into the breast, there 
is nothing to disturb the tides of sleep — unless it be 
the char vaulting for the mayfly, breaking the mirror- 
surface into a circle of depths — or the beetle, blindly 
borne against the traveller and dropping at his feet, 
its droning horn hushed. 

[Now follows what is probably the most extended 
perspective of the absolute ear ever attempted by 
Wordsworth or any other writer. It was obliterated 
from every edition but the first. Why ? Because 
of its hints of Gray and Goldsmith and Dr. Brown ? 
Bather, mayhap, because the theme is overwrought, 
in the artist's opinion, the ear not being naturally 
fitted to convey landscape into words, unaided. Even 
a blind man would agree, here. So many distinctive 
sounds would fight against each other as noises.] 

The waggoner whistles as he plods his ringing way 
beside his slow-winding cart ; flocks of twittering 
swallows make a sigh in the air ; the curfew swings 
long and deep : the talking boat [" Wordsworth," 
this !] moves pensively, or drops anchor down with 
profound plunge. Faint uproar comes from distant 
boys bathing, and from the restless piper-bird weary- 
ing out the shore. These sounds all swell the murmur 
of the village, descending softened, from the water- 
head. As the last bleat dies off in the fold, the 



minstrels of the haunted hill tune up, in the mountain 
dells, their water harps. 

With religious awe, departing day blends with 
night's solemn colours. Amid groves of clouds that 
crest the brow of the mountains and throw their 
shadows about the west, Una-like shining in her 
gloomy way, comes the half-seen form of Twilight. 
The shadowy streams repose in the dark steeps, but 
the dawning moonlight casts hoary gleams and longer 
streaks of fairy radiance along the lake, and the creep- 
ing lustre tracks the fitful breeze. 

Restless magic, it all is. What is bright breaks 
upon the shadowed ; shade invades light : fair spirits 
are abroad, brushing lucid wands in sport along the 
face of the waters, while music, stealing round the 
glimmering deeps, charms the tall circle of the en- 
chanted hills. As the music ascends through the 
astonished woods, the mountain streams suspend their 
rising song. [Near approach to " Pathetic Fallacy," 
but permissible here. Note how, from the first, 
Wordsworth's instinct avoided this error.] Below 
evening's listening star the sheep-walk grows still, on 
the attentive hills. The milkmaid forgets her ballad, 
and the low murmur of her pail ceases from the 
breathless valley. No night duck clamours for his 
wandering mate, for even the birds remain in awe 
while the Genii hold here their pomp. But lo ! the 
pomp is fled ! the wonderful music is mute, and no 
wrack of the pageant remains. 

So vanish human joys, fair shadows, and Death 
only can destroy the vain regret we feel for them. 
Night, meanwhile unheeded, has stolen over the 
vale ; so baffled, on dark Earth, is the failing, weary 



eye, that it turns gladly to rest on any star that peeps. 
The lone black fir, last lingerer of the forest train, 
fades out of the valley ; the cottage smoke, closing sight 
of evening, as it greyly glimmers, at last loses itself 
in the deepening gloom. But now upon the black wall- 
like steeps, at different heights, gleamings restlessly 
sparkle red — the cottage candles by the cascades. 
Nothing of man's life or any other life remains to call 
back the mind wandering to other worlds ; it is the 
night-calm come, that presently will be broken by 
strains of the solemn night-bird. We feel twilight 
sympathetically steal slowly through our heart ; the 
longer we muse, the more the soft shade deepens on 
the tranquil mind. Stay, sadly pleasing visions ! Ah, 
no ! As the valley fades from vision, they fade. Yet 
still remains in the mind the tender vacant sadness, and 
still remains on the cold cheek its shuddering tear. 

The bird that, with fading light, ceased his silent 
threading of the hedges or the steaming river bed, 
will from its reappearing tower anon greet with 
bodings the rising moon, that will with its hoar light 
turn the ground to a pearly frost, and will pour 
deeper blues to the verge of Ether, rejoicing to marshal 
her pomp of cloud in robes of azure and gold and 
fleecy white, while, as the glow-worm fades, with a 
paler red the thicket-shadows are spangled by rose 
and poppy. Now the moon rises over the eastern 
hill where darkness still broods on vanished trees and 
dells and lawns. In silence she lifts up her lovely face, 
flinging her light across the glooms of the valley to 
the western slopes white with hamlets revealed beside 
their woods chequered with summer s green corn 
turned to autumn's hue. 



Thus Hope, pouring from her heavenly horn a 
dawn lovelier than the Moon's, vainly, as she mounts, 
strives to cheer the near hills, black, weary, impervi- 
ous ; yet undaunted, she throws her tempting smile 
to further darling spots. For me, even now, she 
furnishes a distant scene, lovingly gilding that cottage 
that is the sole wish, sole bourne of my way. How 
fair its lawns and silvery woods appear ! How sweet 
is its murmuring stream ! There, my Friend [Dorothy] 
we shall rise to golden days, fulfilling our small share 
of painful sighs (for sighs will ever trouble human 
breath) till we creep hushed into Death's tranquil 
bosom. [A passage doing honour to fraternal love ; 
and touching amid so many promising signs of 
majestic empery in Nature, for its modesty. But the 
diction here distinctly droops, as if Wordsworth had 
language of his own, already, for observation, but not 
yet for speculation.] 

Now the clear Moon is at her zenith and the plains 
are speckless in rimy radiance. Scarce a shadow 
hides the deepest dells in the mountain ; faint silver 
threads outline the hills from the dark blue, answered 
by the blue tide below. Silver wreaths of charcoal- 
smoke steal down over the ruins of the fallen wood, 
and spread along the lake. They waken the scene, 
but do not break its peace. 

[From " Mountain streams " onward, the ideas are 
partly taken from Brown.] 

Mountain streams unheard by day, now only 
faintly heard, beguile my homeward path. Atmos- 
phere and sleeping lake listen in quiet for the aerial 
music of the hill, broken only by the deep strokes of 
the slow clock, or the shout for the sleeping ferryman, 



followed later by his hollow-parting oar, while echoed 
hoofs approach on the further strand. Sounds, over 
the water, the gate closing and, hurrying through the 
rustled corn, the hare arrested at his meal ; the com- 
plaining owl's tremulous sob ; at long intervals the 
mill-dog's howl ; the distant forge's profound swinging 
thump, or the yell of lonely hound in the wood. 

Overloaded with close observation though the 
Walk be, it is a wonderful collection of delicate 
materials for poesy. That it was " young " work is 
obvious ; but it is intense, and it is true in insight, 
and it is new in purpose. What the mature artist 
can accomplish in landscape with a twentieth part of 
such materials may be seen in Milton's Penseroso or 
in our own poet's Tintern Abbey. Be it remarked 
that the Penseroso, like Wordsworth's Evening Walk, 
is full of ear-observations ; about twenty may be dis- 
tinguished in its compass of one hundred and seventy- 
six lines. But Wordsworth, reaching the year of 
Tintern (1798), put such restraint upon his auditory 
sensibility and imagination, that in the whole of this 
poem — one hundred and sixty lines — there are only 
three appeals to the ear. How exquisitely are they 
placed, and how perfect is the wording of them ! — the 
" sweet inland murmur " of the Wye above the tide 
limit, " the sounding cataract haunting like a passion," 
and " the still, sad music of humanity " ! 

The Mastery of Beauty no doubt belongs largely 
to the domain of the sub-conscious. Coinciding pretty 
closely with Talma's definition of art (" Feeling, past 
through Memory, and fixed in Form "), Wordsworth's 
matured appreciation of poesy became " Emotion 



recollected in tranquillity." This will not fit An 
Evening Walk, for there in every line a sensitive 
observer, brooding in no abstract tranquillity, is keenly 
cataloguing Nature's charms. Now no critic could 
lead us from the bright promise of An Evening Walk 
further into the mystery of mastery, as revealed in 
poems like T*intem Abbey, than Wordsworth himself. 
Aubrey de Vere has left us the following memo- 
randum : 

" I was once on a visit to Wordsworth (to have slept under 
his roof I regard as the greatest honour of my life) and we had 
a conversation about the different modern poets who had in 
late years described Nature. He expressed a low opinion as to 
their success in description. He took down several volumes, 
and he said, ' Here is a descriptive passage by . It is ex- 
ceedingly able writing, but it is not Nature. It is undoubtedly 
clever, but it is the writing of a person who vainly endeavours 
to blend together as much as he sees, whether congruous or in- 
congruous, into a single picture. This is the way in which he 
did his work. He used to go out with a pencil and a tablet, 
and note what struck him, thus: "an old tower,'" "a dashing 
stream,*" "a green slope, 11 and make a picture out of it. 1 Then, 
turning to me, the old Poet added, with a flashing eye, ' But 
Nature does not allow an inventory to be made of her charms ! 
He should have left his pencil behind, and gone forth in a 
meditative spirit ; and, on a later day, he should have embodied 
in verse not all that he had noted but what he best remembered 
of the scene ; and he would have then presented us with its soul, 
and not with the mere visual aspects of it. 11 




The whole Wordsworth family agreed that the Even- 
ing Walk was a splendid sackful of poetic material, 
rather than a finished poem. In regard to this piece 
and its companion, Descriptive Sketches, Dorothy 
writes : " Their faults are what the suggestions of a 
friend would easily have made him see. ... It is, 
however, an error he will never fall into again. . . . 
My brother Kit and I amused ourselves by analysing 
every line, and prepared a very bulky criticism." 

In 1790 Wordsworth, with staff and bundle, set off 
on a walking tour through France and Switzerland, 
in the company of his college friend, William Jones, 
landing at Calais on the very eve of the day on which 
the Trees of Liberty were planted all over revolu- 
tionary France. The Prelude informs us that the 
young poet was then little moved by the moral 
ferment of the French nation. 

In 1791, as we have already noted, Wordsworth 
graduated. With no prospects except the career of 
a clergyman, which advising relatives pressed upon 
his unwilling mind, he occupied himself in finishing 
the Sketches and planning the poem called Guilt and 

In 1793 William; Calvert, a son of Raisley Calvert 
of Wharton Hall, and seemingly a nephew of George 
Calvert, agent for the Duke of Norfolk's estate of 



Greystoke, near Penrith, invited Wordsworth to be 
his fellow-traveller in an expedition to the south of 
England. William Calvert, from what the Words- 
worth letters hint, was impulsive and self-wrapped. 
A carriage accident occurring on the tour, Calvert 
mounted a horse and rode home to the north. Words- 
worth was left to proceed as a pedestrian to Stone- 
henge and Tintern and Jones's dwelling in the Vale 
of Clwyd. Everywhere he was dreaming of a simple 
life with Dorothy. He writes about his friend's 
Welsh abode : " The house is quite a cottage, just 
such an one as would suit us." Dorothy sends letters 
to her friends detailing her waking dreams of the 
Parsonage in which William and she are to be happy, 
when he has bowed under the yoke of Orders. Yet 
she thinks he might do well as a tutor of boys, without 
becoming a clergyman. She records that William 
is unfortunately out of favour with nearly all his 
relatives. As for Orders, William had at last come 
to the point of accepting a Curacy at Harwich, but 
he was found to be under the requisite age for pre- 

Next year (1794) is epochal in the lives of AVilliam 
and Dorothy, and brings us back for a time to Words- 
worthshire. Here before us, with Wordsworth's 
signature on the fly-leaf, lies William Mason's 
poem of 1803 on The English Garden. Book third 
of the Garden opens with an imaginary speech uttered 
to Mason by his deceased friend, Thomas Gray : 

" * Why waste thy numbers on a trivial art, 
That ill can mimic even the humblest charms 
Of all majestic Nature ? ' At the word 
His eye would glisten, and his accents glow 


With all the poet's frenzy, ' Sov'reign queen ! 

Behold, and tremble ! while thou view'st her state 

Thron'd on the heights of Skiddaw ; call thy art 

To build her such a throne ; that art will sink 

To its primaeval nothing. Trace her march 

Amid the purple crags of Borrowdale ; 

And try like those to pile thy range of rock 

In rude tumultuous chaos. See ! she mounts 

Her Naiad car, and, down Ladore's dread cliff 

Falls many a fathom with the headlong stream ; 

Falls like the bard my fabling fancy hurl'd 

From the rough brow that frown'd o'er Conway's flood ; 

Yet not like him, to plunge in endless night; 

For, on its boiling bosom, still she guides 

Her buoyant shell, and leads the wave along, 

Or spreads it broad, a river, or a lake, 

As suits her sov'reign pleasure ; will thy song 

E'er brace the sinews of enervate art 

To such dread daring ? ' " 

It was just this bracing of the sinews to some such 
dread daring that lay before Wordsworth as his task, 
shadowed forth in An Evening Walk. Glimpses 
of the training for that life of high endeavour, and 
glimpses of the absurd misgivings of relatives regard- 
ing the plain living and high thinking of the brother 
and sister, are set forth in three missives from Dorothy, 
terse, right-minded, noble. 

From the first of these letters we learn that 
William and Dorothy, arriving at Kendal from 
Halifax, walked to Grasmere (did they wistfully look 
at cottages to let ? ) and from Grasmere to Keswick, 
and there they took up their abode at a house called 
Windy Brow, on the northern bank of the Greta, 
under Latrigg. Windy Brow, or rather part of it, 
formed an occasional retreat of William Calvert's ; 
the property was in the permanent possession of a 
" statesman." 



Again Dorothy takes up the pen to convey to 
Miss Pollard these chronicles from Windy Brow : 

" You cannot conceive anything more delightful than the 
situation of this house. It stands upon the top of a very steep 
bank, which rises in a direction nearly perpendicular from a 
dashing stream below. 

"From the window of the room where I write, I have a 
prospect of the road winding along the opposite banks of this 
river, of a part of the lake of Keswick and the town, and tower- 
ing above the town a woody steep of a very considerable height, 
whose summit is a long range of silver rocks. This is the view 
from the house; a hundred yards above, it is impossible to de- 
scribe its grandeur. There is a natural terrace along the side 
of the mountain, which shelters Windy Brow, whence we com- 
mand a view of the whole Vale of Keswick (the Vale of Elysium, 
as Mr. Gray calls it). This vale is terminated at one end by a 
huge pile of grand mountains, in whose lap the lovely lake of 
Derwent is placed; at the other end by the lake of Bassen- 
thwaite, on one side of which Skiddaw towers sublime, and on 
the other a range of mountains, not of equal size, but of much 
grandeur ; and the middle part of the vale is of beautiful culti- 
vated grounds, interspersed with cottages, and watered by a 
winding stream which runs between the lakes of Derwent and 

" I have never been more delighted with the manners of any 
people than of the family under whose roof I am at present. 
They are the most honest, cleanly, sensible people I ever saw in 
their rank of life, and I think I may safely affirm, happier than 
anybody I know. They are contented with a supply of the 
bare necessaries of life, are active and industrious, and declare 
with simple frankness, unmixed with ostentation, that they 
prefer their cottage at Windy Brow to any of the showy edifices 
in the neighbourhood, and they believe that there is not to be 
found in the whole vale a happier family than they are. They 
are fond of reading, and reason not indifferently on what they 
read. We have a neat parlour to ourselves, which Mr. Calvert 
has fitted up for his own use, and the lodging rooms are very 

"Till my brother gets some employment he will lodge here. 
Mr. Calvert is not now at Windy Brow, as you will suppose. 
We please ourselves in calculating from our present expenses 
for how very small a sum we could live. We find our own 



food. Our breakfast and supper are of milk, and our dinner 
chiefly of potatoes, and we drink no tea." 

Mrs. Crackanthorpe of Newbiggin Hall objects to 
Dorothy's trudgings and to her picking up strange 
acquaintances ; and the expenses likely to be incurred 
by the wanderers form one of her chief reasons for 
remonstrance ! Dorothy replies to her aunt : 

" I am much obliged to you for the frankness with which 
you have expressed your sentiments upon my conduct, and am 
at the same time extremely sorry that you should think it so 
severely to be condemned. As you have not sufficiently de- 
veloped the reasons of your censure, I have endeavoured to dis- 
cover them ; and I confess no other possible objections against 
my continuing here a few weeks longer suggest themselves, ex- 
cept the expense, and that you may suppose me to be in an 
unprotected situation. As to the former of these objections I 
reply that I drink no tea, that my supper and breakfast are of 
bread and milk, and my dinner chiefly of potatoes from choice. 
In answer to the second of these suggestions, namely that I may 
be supposed to be in an unprotected situation, I affirm that I 
consider the character and virtues of my brother as a sufficient 
protection ; and besides I am convinced that there is no place 
in the world in which a good and virtuous young woman would be 
more likely to continue good and virtuous than under the roof 
of these honest, worthy, uncorrupted people; so that any 
guardianship beyond theirs I should think altogether unneces- 
sary. I cannot pass unnoticed that part of your letter in which 
you speak of my ' rambling about the country on foot.' So far 
from considering this as a matter of condemnation, I rather 
thought it would have given my friends pleasure to hear that I 
had courage to make use of the strength with which nature has 
endowed me, when it not only procured me infinitely more 
pleasure than I should have received from sitting in a post- 
chaise, but was also the means of saving me at least thirty 
shillings. . . . 

" I am now twenty-two years of age, and such have been the 
circumstances of my life that I may be said to have enjoyed 
William's company only for a very few months. An oppor- 
tunity now presents itself of obtaining this satisfaction, an 
opportunity which I could not see pass from me without un- 



speakable pain. Besides, I not only derive much pleasure but 
much improvement from my brother's society. I have regained 
all the knowledge I had of the French language some years 
ago, and have added considerably to it. I have now begun 
Italian, of which I expect to have soon gained a sufficient know- 
ledge to receive much entertainment and advantage from it. 11 
— Knight's Letters of the Wordsworth Family (i. pp. 62-3). 

" Windy Brow " ! The modern mansion of the 
distinguished family of Spedding enjoys that title, 
on a spot near the early nesting-place of the Words- 
worths ; but the original farmhouse has disappeared. 
Apparently it was under the roof of this farmhouse 
that William Calvert introduced Dorothy and William 
to his delicate younger brother Raisley. Raisley 
quickly fell into keen sympathy with William's aims. 
From the Letters, vol. i. page 73, we learn that 
Raisley offered a share of his modest income to the 
poet, who was meanwhile despatching fiery republican 
letters to London friends. " I see no connection 
between reason and the sword. . . . F disapprove of 
monarchical and aristocratical governments, however 
modified. Hereditary distinctions, and privileged 
orders of every species, I think must necessarily 
counteract the progress of human improvement ; 
hence it follows that I am not amongst the admirers 
of the British Constitution." 

The tenth book of the Prelude tells us much about 
the wanderings and speculations of Wordsworth at 
this period — the visit to Taylor's grave, for instance, 
and the arresting incident (553) on Ulverston Sands. 
In these days one of the main tracks from the south 
into Furness and what we now call Lakeland pro- 
ceeded by Lancaster, across a great treacherous bight, 
from Hest Bank through a wide arm of Morecambe 



Bay to Cartmel, and from Cartmel across a narrower 
arm of the bay to Ulverston. West's book gives the 
mileage thus : Lancaster to Hest Bank, 3 ; Hest 
Bank to Carterhouse (over sands), 9 ; Carterhouse to 
Cartmel, 2 ; Cartmel to Holkergate, 2 ; Holkergate 
to Ulverston (over sands), 4. Travellers made these 
passages at low tide, under the care of official guides 
provided by authority. The guides had each day to 
institute fresh surveys of the ever-shifting sandbanks. 
As many as one hundred gigs, chariots, and single 
horsemen would on one trip follow such a leader : it 
was like the people of Israel crossing the Bed Sea. 
Wordsworth, having quitted Taylor's grave at Cartmel, 
was one morning traversing a portion of these sands 
on foot, on his way back to Keswick by Ulverston, 
when the foremost traveller in a caravan bound from 
Hest Bank cried to him, " Robespierre is dead ! " 

66 The day deserves 
A separate record. Over the smooth sands 
Of Leven's ample estuary lay 
My journey, and beneath a genial sun, 
With distant prospect among gleams of sky 
And clouds, and intermingling mountain-tops, 
In one inseparable glory clad, 
Creatures of one ethereal substance met 
In consistory, like a diadem 
Or crown of burning seraphs as they sit 
In the empyrean. Underneath that pomp 
Celestial, lay unseen the pastoral vales 
Among whose happy fields I had grown up 
From childhood. On the fulgent spectacle, 
That neither passed away nor changed, I gazed 
Enrapt ; but brightest things are wont to draw 
Sad opposites out of the inner heart, 
As even their pensive influence drew from mine. 
How could it otherwise ? for not in vain 

177 m 


That very morning had I turned aside 

To seek the ground where, 'mid a throng of graves, 

An honoured teacher of my youth was laid. 

fc ' As I advanced, all that I saw or felt 
Was gentleness and peace. Upon a small 
And rocky island near, a fragment stood 
(Itself like a sea rock) the low remains 
(With shells encrusted, dark with briny weeds) 
Of a dilapidated structure, once 
A Romish chapel, where the vested priest 
Said matins at the hour that suited those 
Who crossed the sands with ebb of morning tide. 
Not far from that still ruin all the plain 
Lay spotted with a variegated crowd 
Of vehicles and travellers, horse and foot, 
Wading beneath the conduct of their guide 
In loose procession through the shallow stream 
Of inland waters ; the great sea meanwhile 
Heaved at safe distance, far retired. I paused, 
Longing for skill to paint a scene so bright 
And cheerful, but the foremost of the band 
As he approached, no salutation given 
In the familiar language of the day, 
Cried, ' Robespierre is dead ! ' — nor was a doubt, 
After strict question, left within my mind 
That he and his supporters all were fallen. 

" Great was my transport, deep my gratitude 
To everlasting Justice, by this fiat 
Made manifest. ' Come now, ye golden times,' 
Said I forth-pouring on those open sands 
A hymn of triumph : ' as the morning comes 
From out the bosom of the night, come ye : 
Thus far our trust is verified ; behold ! 
They who with clumsy desperation brought 
A river of Blood, and preached that nothing else 
Could cleanse the Augean stable, by the might 
Of their own helper have been swept away ; 
Their madness stands declared and visible ; 
Elsewhere will safety now be sought, and earth 
March firmly towards righteousness and peace. 1 — 
Then schemes I framed more calmly, when and how 


The madding factions might be tranquillised, 

And how through hardships manifold and long 

The glorious renovation would proceed. 

Thus interrupted by uneasy bursts 

Of exultation, I pursued my way 

Along that very shore which I had skimmed 

In former days, when — spurring from the Vale 

Of Nightshade, and St. Mary's mouldering fane, 

And the stone abbot, after circuit made 

In wantonness of heart, a joyous band 

Of schoolboys hastening to their distant home 

Along the margin of the moonlight sea — 

We beat with thundering hoofs the level sand.' 

The incident thus recorded must have occurred in 
August. The " Romish chapel " would be on what 
we still know as Chapel Island in the Leven 

Raisley Calvert had entered on a decline, and grew 
daily worse. In October, Wordsworth wrote to 
William Calvert for money to provide for his being 
able to accompany the sick man to Lisbon. In 
the same letter he expressed a hope that William 
would not grudge his inheritance from Raisley being 
docked by £600, a sum Raisley destined for Words- 
worth, on condition that the £600 was not to be 
impinged upon by any claims put forward by the 
poet's guardians. Neither Calvert nor Wordsworth 
undertook the Lisbon voyage. Wordsworth nursed 
the consumptive in his last days at the Robin Hood 
Inn, Penrith, and Raisley Calvert was buried in Grey- 
stoke churchyard, January 12, 1795, aged twenty- 
one. His will proved that he had left not £600 but 
£900 to Wordsworth. Seldom, perhaps never, has so 
wise a generosity been evinced by a youth, or has 
such a legacy been more fruitfully used. 



Wordsworth's verse - acknowledgments of his 
benefactor's providential care are to be found in the 
fourteenth book of the Prelude and in the Sonnet 
beginning with that benefactor's surname. Such 
acknowledgments are difficult to achieve in the right 
key ; and Wordsworth's nature was not one to find 
the difficulty less than his fellows would have felt it. 

" If in freedom I have loved the truth ; 
If there be aught of pure, or good, or great, 
In my past verse ; or shall be, in the lays 
Of higher mood, which now I meditate ; 
It gladdens me, O worthy, short-lived Youth ! 
To think how much of this will be thy praise. 11 

" Himself no Poet, yet 
Far less a common follower of the world . . . 
He cleared a passage for me, and the stream 
Flowed in the bent of Nature. 11 

The name, the lovely and significant situation, the 
affecting circumstances in which the Wordsworths 
reached it— surely these render "Windy Brow" a 
place to be remembered with exquisite reverence in 
the history of English literature ! Dorothy, at Windy 
Brow, looking from what to her are magic casements, 
finds her sisterly heart full. " I am now twenty-two 
years of age, and such have been the circumstances of 
my life that I may be said to have enjoyed my 
brother's company only for a very few months." 
" William has a sort of violence of affection, if I may 
so term it, which demonstrates itself every moment 
of the day, in a thousand almost imperceptible atten- 
tions ... a sort of restless watchfulness which I know 
not how to describe, a tenderness that never sleeps, 



and at the same time such a delicacy of manners as I 
have observed in few men " [Letters, vol. i. p. 48). 

" We have been endeared to each other by early 
misfortune. We in the same moment lost a father, 
a mother, a home. We have been equally deprived 
of our patrimony. These afflictions have all contri- 
buted to unite us closer by the bonds of affection, 
notwithstanding we have been compelled to spend 
our youth far asunder " (page 49). Granted that 
brother William was outwardly without grace ! " He 
is certainly rather plain " (page 52). . . . " Ah ! I never 
thought of the cold when he was with me. . . . I am very 
sure that love will never bind me closer to any human 
being than friendship binds me ... to William, my 
earliest and my dearest male friend " (page 55). 

Here, first, Dorothy enjoys something of a home 
with that dear one. Dove Cottage can be fully under- 
stood only by those familiar with the expressed 
longings of years that reach their earliest gratification 
for the orphans at Windy Brow. Here first Dorothy 
is permitted to watch her brother assuming the very 
function she had assigned to him in a quotation from 
Beattie's Minstrel : — 

" And oft he traced the uplands to survey, 
When o'er the sky advanced the kindred dawn, 
The crimson cloud, blue main, and mountain grey, 
And lake dim-gleaming on the dusky lawn, 
Far to the west the long, long vale withdrawn/ 1 

At Windy Brow Dorothy's staunchness aids her 
brother to resist the family pressure towards Orders. 
Here she watches the " bracing up " of the poet's 
fibres. Here, in the Calverts, she notes the earliest 
gush of sympathetic acclaim from comparative 



strangers. Here first does Dorothy make herself 
clear to us — at the very gate of Threlkeld valley, 
school of the shepherd lord — as living out with her 
brother, no otherwise than they both lived them out 
afterwards in Eight-Pound s-a- Year Dove Cottage, 
the courageous joys of high-bred poverty. 




What is the next clear vision we have of Words- 
worth's " exquisite sister " ? It occurs in the year 
1797. Along with Samuel Coleridge, her brother 
William, and Cottle the publisher, Dorothy one day 
arrived in a gig from Bristol at a farm where the 
merry-making party were to dine. The four had 
stopped to parley with a beggar, who apparently 
rewarded their interest in him by stealing cheese 
from their vehicle. When they reached their desti- 
nation none, of the four travellers could remove the 
horse's collar, though Coleridge was an ex-dragoon. 
The lonely wench who acted as caretaker of the 
place stepped out from the kitchen with a "La, 
master, you should do like this ! " and she turned 
the collar round, slipping it off in an instant. Then 
the company sat down to a meal intended to consist 
of a butterless loaf and a bottle of brandy ; but the 
brandy was accidentally spilt. 

The bread and the brave brandy — "brandy for 
heroes ! " — are types of the existence of Wordsworth 
and his friends at this period. The poet was living 
at Alfoxden, Somersetshire, whither he had been 
attracted by Coleridge's presence, after nearly two 
years of anxious obscurity with Dorothy at Race- 
down, not far away. At Racedown Wordsworth 
composed his tedious drama, The Borderers, and 



The Old Cumberland Beggar, as true and moving 
a picture of a Lakeland character as he ever achieved. 
This was a memory from the Cockermouth days. 

At Alfoxden Wordsworth led his life so way- 
wardly, and in such strange republican company — 
the demagogue John Thelwall being the political 
stalwart or scapegrace in the midst of that group 
— that Government sent down a spy to watch 
these admirers of revolutionary France, who in the 
long-run were to return to political bread without 
any thimblefuls of heady political brandy. 

See these intellectual gipsies of Alfoxden — Cole- 
ridge and Wordsworth, with Dorothy — set out on a 
week's walking tour, at half-past four on a dark and 
cloudy afternoon of November! Some poem that 
may be written by Wordsworth and Coleridge, and 
may be accepted by the editor of the Monthly 
Magazine, is to pay the expenses of this trip ! 
During the first eight miles in the dark, the two 
poets throw open to each other their chambers of 
imagery, to plan the bill-defraying poem. The re- 
sult is The Ancient Mariner, and a further result 
will be the Lyrical Ballads of 1798, a volume in 
which the two poets put forth their power to excite 
the sympathy of readers by a faithful adherence to the 
truth of nature, and their power to give the interest 
of novelty by the modifying colours of the imagina- 
tion. Wordsworth takes up themes of daily life to 
show within them charms equal to the interests 
evoked by the supernatural. Coleridge bends him- 
self to give abnormal romance the impressiveness of 
reality. These two great minds are cousinly, like 
bee and moth. Both are needed, to flit over the 



garden of English poesy. Wordsworth is the mountain 
bee. Coleridge, in his duskier atmosphere, is the 
moth. Science tells us that the moth fertilises flowers 
as widely as the bee does. Wordsworth's gift is ex- 
quisite sense of things as they are, and their signifi- 
cance to the moral soul of man. Coleridge's gift 
is an ethereal witchery whereinto he transmutes 
experience of the senses through imagination disem- 
bodied from contact with sober consciousness. For 
Coleridge, poetic truth depended on the powers of 
human fantasy. He is thunderstruck, and for a 
time like one new-born, when Wordsworth displays 
external Nature as ruling by a categorical imperative 
all its own. We may see something like Wordsworth's 
impression of Nature received by Coleridge subjec- 
tively and transmuted into phantasy — turned inside 
out — in these lines of The Ancient Mariner about 
the souls singing round the ship's mast : — 

" Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths, 
And from their bodies passed. 

Around, around, flew each sweet sound, 

Then darted to the Sun ; 
Slowly the sounds came back again, 

Now mixed, now one by one. 

Sometimes a-dropping from the sky, 

I heard the skylark sing ; 
Sometimes all little birds that are 
How they seemed to fill the sea and air 

With their sweet jargoning. 

And now 'twas like all instruments, 

Now like a lonely flute ; 
And now it is an angel's song, 

That makes the heavens be mute. 


It ceased ; yet still the sails made on 
A pleasant noise till noon, 

A noise like of a hidden brook 
In the leafy month of June, 

That to the sleeping woods all night 
Singeth a quiet tune." 

Here we perceive traces from a youth of sense- 
communion with Nature as keen as Wordsworth's 
had been. But Coleridge's imagination is inductive 
from Nature towards pure fantasy. Wordsworth's 
imagination was more submissive towards Nature, 
though not more artistic ; it deduced in terms of 
didacticism. Nature and the Moth revealed a new 
moonlight to English poetry. Nature and the Moun- 
tain-bee revealed a sunny sustenance awaiting day- 
light's tasks of insight willed and fulfilled. 

One fancies that Dorothy during these eight 
miles of tramping through the Dorset darkness, on 
that famous November evening, for once questioned 
whether the Moth might not prove itself more daring 
of wing than the Bee. But Dorothy it was, not 
Coleridge, who in that time of sifting proved most 
necessary to William her brother. 

The Alfoxden episode lasted from July of 1797 
to June of 1798. In that year, as we have noted 
already, Lyrical Ballads appeared, and the few who 
bought copies rather laughed at the work than tried 
to understand its two voices. The Ancient Mariner 
moved nobody : Southey was the only reviewer who 
perceived the grandeur of Tint em Abbey. 

In September of 1798 Coleridge accompanied 
Wordsworth and his sister to Germany, but he soon 
left them for courses of his own ; and William and 



Dorothy found shelter at little cost in the mediaeval 
town of Goslar. Thus — Coleridge's influence much 
in abeyance, and Dorothy's wholly English spirit 
disenfranchised for the time being — our poet " passed 
through memory and fixed in form " composite emo- 
tions derived from study of certain human themes 
suggested by his earlier days. This was distinctly 
an era for him at which mind was to work on types 
of humanity rather than on manifestations from 
nature external to humanity. The "Lucy" group 
of poems and the " Matthew " group belong to Gos- 
lar. To Goslar also we owe the "glad preamble" 
for the Prelude that was poured out for Coleridge 
in February 1799. In December of that year 
William and Dorothy Wordsworth settled at Dove 
Cottage, Grasmere. 




He who desires to find to-day anything in Lakeland 
reproducing the qualities of humanity so agreeable 
to William and Dorothy Wordsworth must abandon 
the beaten tracks. He must linger at the entrance 
of some valley until the hum of towns and the crackle 
of coach wheels have disappeared from the ear s con- 
sciousness. And then he must loiter for weeks at 
least in that single valley, to become attempered to 
its atmosphere. The courtesy of the Dalesfolk will 
come out to him at once, but he must wait for their 
confidence, and wait longer still for their sympathy. 
First, he will mark a quality of Suspense in the land- 
scape. Many of the homes seem poised in the air. 
Secondly, he will mark Truce. Nature and Man do 
not ask too much of each other. Each remains free. 
Thirdly, he will become conscious of Equality among 
men. There are no palaces in any of these glens ; 
no castles ; no cathedrals ; even church spires are 
snuffed out of this kind of landscape. Then comes 
a sense of strong Silence. Also, Timelessness breathes 
through that silence. The valley folk are unhurried ; 
their chronology is that of the unwearied seasons. 
Something of a Songlessness there is, furthermore. 
The very birds are not lavish of their music. Could 
they be so, where trees are sparse? However, it 
is the songlessness of the people that most impresses 



the mind. The milkmaid seldom carols, as the 
ploughman usually gets along without whistling. 
The Reserve of the Dalesmen will only grow upon 
the visitor, as he stays among them. It belongs to 
their Isolation. They do not live in England. They 
live in Westmorland or Cumberland. 

Such are the impressions that an average English- 
man will receive from Lakeland if he proceed slowly 
and gently in quest of the little that remains of the 
old life, uncontaminated by modern influences from 
the towns. 

The mind of young Wordsworth first of all re- 
acted against feudalism. Next, it went through three 
years of protest, much of it captious, against the 
dead hand of university authority. At the revolu- 
tionary flames of France he warmed his hands and 
felt a brief exultancy, but that firelight faded into 
the common light of day. And just about then it 
happened that William and Dorothy Wordsworth, 
who had ever a Quaker strain in their souls, threw in 
their lot with Nature's Quakers — these Dalesfolk, 
simple amid freedom, socially content in communal 
life, satisfied with the theology of a God above and 
Judgment to come. 

The Dalesfolk were well worth finding out. 
Wordsworth divined them better than they have 
ever understood him. He consecrated himself to 
Lakeland as Burns may be said to have expressed 
himself on behalf of the Scottish Lowlands. To-day 
the peasantry of Scotland adore Burns. But how do 
the peasantry of Westmorland and Cumberland regard 
Wordsworth? As a mass, they do not regard him 
at all. The blame is not wholly Wordsworth's. His 



mediums of vaticination often vibrated in notes too 
high or too low for the common scale of hearing. 
Deeply as he reverenced his neighbours, he stood 
aloof from them, and so their descendants stand aloof 
from him. No one will maintain that Walter Scott, 
intellectual giant though he was, expressed that 
depth of insight into childhood which Wordsworth 
has revealed to us in his best poems. When Scott 
visited Mrs. James Hogg's cottage for a chat and 
laid his hands on the head of one of the children with 
a " God bless you, my dear," and departed, the 
mother burst into weeping, only because he had not 
so blessed all her little ones. There was not this re- 
ciprocity of ordinary kindliness between Lakelanders 
and their great poet. Unmatched devotion was his 
as he offered it to them and their country, but it was 
the offering of a lonely idealist rather than of a cheer- 
ing neighbour, and it has been chiefly the rest of the 
world that has by reverence been attracted to that 
message. The mass of Dalesfolk still live Words- 
worthless. The message has gone over their heads. 

Let us turn to study these still admirable Lake- 

It is clear that the yeoman proprietors of Cum- 
berland and Westmorland, commonly called " States- 
men," acquired their little landed properties just 
as the squatters in Australia have entered into their 
possessions. That is to say, they either settled 
upon absolutely unclaimed land or drove out the 
primitive holders. The first proof of this is, that 
Dale property has nearly always been held by cus- 
tomary tenure, not by the copyhold tenure which 
derives its validity only from rolls made up by a 



steward of some manor-lord. Secondly, some of 
these customary freeholds have been held uninter- 
ruptedly in the same families from the time of 
Richard II. The Holmeses of Mardale are descended 
from John Holmes, a Norwegian who settled in 
Lincolnshire in 1060 and afterwards removed to 
Mardale. No Norman feudal lord could then have 
held sway over John Holmes. Thirdly, there is the 
negative evidence that Domesday Book does not 
mention Cumberland or Westmorland. Fourthly, 
when James I. came to the throne of England, he 
set up a claim to all the small properties of Cumber- 
land and Westmorland on the exclusive plea that 
the Statesmen had been always and merely tenants 
of the Crown. It does one good to hear that this 
plea roused the dwellers in these peaceful valleys. 
Two hundred of them met at Rather Heath, be- 
tween Kendal and Staveley. Their leader was one 
Brunskill. They issued a declaration that "They 
had won their lands by the sword and were able to 
defend them by the same." Until Wordsworth's 
time the Statesmen, under what may be described as 
a film of manorial suzerainty, retained their paternal 

These little properties — often called tenements — 
were more numerous in Stuart times than they 
were at the end of last century. Queen Catharine, 
wife of Charles II., held seventy-four customary 
tenements in Grasmere. In Wordsworth's period at 
Grasmere this number fell to twenty-six : in 1829 
the number had fallen to twelve. The poet Gray 
thus described the Grasmere community : " Not a 
single red tile, no gentleman's flaring house or garden 



breaks in upon the repose of this little unsuspected 
paradise ; but all is peace, rusticity, and happy poverty 
in its neatest and most becoming attire." Words- 
worth uses like terms of admiration for this " perfect 
republic of shepherds and agriculturists," among whom 
the plough of each man was confined to the main- 
tenance of his own family, or the occasional accom- 
modation of his neighbour. The chapel was the only 
outstanding building. The well-to-do Statesman 
would own about twenty head of cattle and eighty 
or one hundred sheep. Occupied in cultivating his 
rebellious paternal meads and pasturing his equally 
rebellious Herdwick flock upon a range of unfenced 
fells shared by a score or two of farmers, he was 
content if he could make ends meet so as to pass on 
his domain to his son. The storms of one year on 
such a range of hills as we have mentioned might cost 
the group of farmers fifteen hundred sheep. On the 
other hand, the free flocks on the wild fells cost almost 
nothing to feed. In such circumstances a Statesman 
just held his own on an average of seasons. Truth 
and honesty breathed through all these valleys. 
" Go," said a Statesman in 1800 to Richard Warner, 
who was wandering through the land, " Go to the 
dale on the other side of the mountain and tell So-and- 
so you came from me. I know him not, but he will 
receive you kindly, for our sheep mingle upon the 
mountains." Nature's Quakers, we have called these 
hardy Dalesmen. " Two things have I required of 
Thee, deny me them not before I die. Remove me 
far from vanity and lies ; give me neither poverty nor 
riches ; feed me with food convenient for me ; lest I 
be full, and deny Thee and say Who is the Lord ? or 



lest I be poor and steal." Lakeland and Arcadia have 
had much in godly common. In these communities 
most of the estates were so small that they did not 
provide continuous farm work for the Statesman and 
his family ; so carding, spinning, and weaving were 
adopted as winter employment. The men carded and 
the women spun the wool. On the larger estates, the 
junior member of the family would weave at the 
household loom. In other cases, the loom would be 
idle until the yearly return of an itinerant weaver. 
The linsey-woolsey dresses of the women were home- 
spun, and a coarse linen was manufactured from native- 
grown flax — or sometimes from hemp — for the under- 
clothing of women and the shirts of men. The overplus 
of cloth and yarn was considerable, and found its way 
to Kendal and Keswick and Penrith. Until the looms 
of Yorkshire and Lancashire destroyed the trade, 
Kendal exported to America large consignments of 
coarse woollens. The ancient and famous Kendal 
Green was a woollen dyed with blue woad and yellow 
from the genista tinctoria. At Armboth,near Keswick, 
may be seen the " Webstone " by the side of which 
these goods were traded when no market could be held 
at Keswick because of plague. Half a mile out from 
Penrith, on the left of the road to Eamont Bridge, 
stands the " Plague Stone," containing a hollow in 
which the exchange money used to be disinfected in 
these plague times. The inroad of machinery upon 
the simpler modes of manufacturing woollen cloth 
was what chiefly led to the downfall of the Statesmen. 
Few members of his class exist. Probably there are 
not now six Statesmen at Grasmere. 

Houses with hardly an exception sheltered them- 

193 N 


selves under the sides of hills beside streams (" becks ") 
or natural wells. In the northern parts of Lakeland 
the lowest classes had at one time lived in clay daubies, 
thatched huts of mud which could be constructed by a 
man and his neighbours in a single day. In West- 
morland, such folk had dwelt in houses roughly con- 
structed of unhewn and unmortared stone and covered 
in with irregular slates. But nearly all these sheds, 
by Wordsworth's time, had given place to dwellings 
more respectable and substantial. For these and 
larger buildings the roof-trees and the doors and 
window-frames were of oak, as were all the fastenings. 
At Armboth may be seen an old farmhouse door made 
of double oak planks bound together by 631 wooden 
pegs. It has been remarked that a dozen doors could 
now be constructed in the time that was needed by 
the old carpenters to fashion these pegs. Houses of 
an average size consisted of the dwelling-room, the 
dairy, and the parlour. The dwelling-room was a 
kitchen-hall for all and sundry. In the centre of this 
room stood an oak table of such size that it had to 
be constructed after its materials had been passed 
inside the door. Master and family and guests and 
servants all congregated round this table for meals. 
The plates were of maple-wood. Any liquors were 
served in miniature barrels, of which one stave stood 
higher than the others for a handle. The fire of peat 
or wood was kept ever going on a raised stone hearth 
built on to an inner wall of the house. The chim- 
ney, as large at the top as modern chimneys are at 
the bottom, came straight down as a widening vent 
until it entered the living-room in the form of a low 
canopy. Before this hearth there would be found a 



few three-legged stools, and an upright staff fixed into 
a supporting log. The rushlights were attachable to 
this staff, at variable heights, by holes in its side. 
On either side of the hearth were fixed high-backed 
oaken forms on which most of the inhabitants would 
sit at night with caps on their heads to protect them 
from the steaming smuts that trickled down the 
chimney. Under one of these benches, doors enclosed 
family knitting and such things. Under the other 
fixed form there would lie as much " elding " as would 
suffice for the twenty-four hours. " Elding " was old 
peat or old wood. These great chimneys were of 
course used for drying bacon and other larger masses 
of flesh. Clarke tells us that he has seen six or seven 
carcases of sheep hanging within a single chimney. 
The better-class houses had a passage — the " hallan " 
— leading from the front door (which was a little sunk 
from the courtyard) to the back door opening on the 
stables and byres. Part of the framework of the door- 
way was the " thresh wood," a solid balk of timber 
raised from the rest of the floor about five inches. 
To this inconvenient beam household piety ascribed 
many powers for good or evil. In Wordsworth's time, 
when more convenient houses were springing up, many 
of the Dalesmen could not enter them without in- 
stinctively lifting a foot to pass over the imaginary 
obstacle dear to superstition. Good houses of the 
old sort possessed a " down house " opening from the 
valley side of the mid passage. This " down house " 
was a tall roofed kind of barn in which such things 
as churning and brewing went on. Entering from 
the other side of the mid passage, and proceeding 
through the kitchen-hall, one came to the " Bower," 



which was the sleeping-room of the master and his 
wife. Above the kitchen was the loft in which the 
other members of the family and the servants reposed, 
the sexes being sundered by a slight wooden partition 
six or seven feet high. This loft was not ceiled ; it 
was open to a roof often so carelessly put together 
that the occupants, waking of a winter's morning, 
might find themselves under coverlets of snow, or else 
soused in rain. Westmorlanders deny that their 
county is a damp one, for the descending showers soon 
disappear into the ground ; but they admit that it is 
wet. In 1852, when the year's mean rainfall of 
England was thirty inches, that of Scawfell Pike was 
eighty-one ; Sty Head, one hundred and twenty-four ; 
Seathwaite, one hundred and fifty-six. Taking a 
period of ten years, we find the average rainfall of 
Seathwaite to be over one hundred and twenty-six 
inches ; while for the rest of England it is computed 
as twenty-nine inches. Yet Windermere's sunshine 
record is usually next to that of Bournemouth, accord- 
ing to observations recorded for many years by the 
late Mr. James M. J. 13. Baddeley. 

It will have been gathered that men and women 
contented themselves with homespun duffel woollen 
for their principal garments. Black and white fleeces 
were mixed in the spinning to save the expense of 
dyeing. The men's coats and waistcoats were orna- 
mented with brass buttons, where means permitted. 
Domestic servants received shifts, coats, gowns, and 
aprons as part of their wages. The money part 
would be (about 1770) £5 a year for a man, £2 10s. 
for a woman. Knee-breeches were the custom for 
centuries. They were buttoned tight above the 



haunches, of course without any addition of braces. 
Holiday breeches were sometimes made of buckskin, 
but whether of buckskin or not, they were garnished 
at the knee with a knot of ribbon and a few bright 
buttons. Stockings were blue or grey. Clogs were 
the ordinary wear for all male creatures. Even the 
master-farmers kept their silver-buckled shoes for 
what we call state occasions. Masters and servants 
alike clattered about on every cobbled market-place 
in clogs — the warmest and driest footgear for folk 
who have much tramping through marshes and becks 
and cattle yards. Even to church the world went in 
clogs. To prevent the back of the wooden shoes 
from barking the shins of the wearers, and alike for 
economy of the woollen foot-gear, the stocking heels 
were reinforced with melted pitch and ashes of 
turf. To this day the labourers and school children 
use clogs. The women, over linsey-woolsey petti- 
coats, wore long-tailed " bed gowns," and usually the 
" bed gown " was protected in front by a blue apron. 
The clogs of the women were more pointed than 
those of the men, and were also distinguished by 
having brass instead of iron clasps. The women's 
bonnets projected nearly a foot beyond the face of 
the wearer to fend off sun and rain alike. They took 
the form of a coal-scuttle, and were made of paste- 
board covered with linen or black silk. 

By the fireside, aided by one or two faint rush- 
lights, the women formed parties of gossip for 
knitting and spinning. This was called "gaan 
a-sittin." The spinning was hardly ever performed 
by day, since there was an idea that the wool gave 
itself up to handling more generously when the 



flocks were at rest. [See Wordsworth's Song of the 
Spinning Wheel.~] 

The people of the dale farms consumed quantities 
of fresh animal food during the autumn. The beasts 
had such poor feeding in the winter that by spring 
time they were not worth killing. During the 
summer half of the year, salmon and salt beef and 
salt mutton formed the chief solid foods, and as a 
result ague was common. When tea and coffee 
came in, about Wordsworth's time, they helped to 
banish the ague, which, however, was mainly dispelled 
by modern variety of foods and by improved sani- 
tation. Almost the only bread of the old-fashioned 
Dalesfolk was " Haver-bread " — a thin form of oat- 
cake — and nourishing " Poddish " was made of the 
same meal boiled instead of baked. Cumberland 
could supply itself with oats, but Westmorland 
imported oats from that sister county and from Lan- 
caster, York, and Durham. Home-brewed ale was 
the regular drink at breakfast and all other meals. 
Milk, butter, and cheese were of course furnished to 
every table from the farm. 

The roads of the country were miserable. In- 
deed, what we should call a road was unknown ; and 
wheeled carriages were unknown up to the time of 
Wordsworth's youth. There were only pack-horse 
tracks. A writer in 1875 mentions "an old man 
now living in Grasmere " whose grandmother could 
remember new church bells being brought to Gras- 
mere on sledges by the old road over the top of 
White Moss — then the main road between Ambleside 
and Grasmere. All the lead covering the present 
roof of Windermere's old parish church was brought 


Pwfcu.1 v^-lB 


(From an old print) 


from Whitehaven by pack-horses. Travellers had 
only a choice between going on foot and going on 
horseback. The wife often rode " pillion " to market 
behind her husband. On a page of her Journal we 
find Dorothy Wordsworth thus riding "pillion" to- 
wards Penrith behind Mary Hutchinson. Sometimes 
a straw pad was all the saddle, and just as often a 
dried turf was shaped to perform the same office for 
the day. Strange to say, the opening of turnpike 
roads, between 1750 and 1760, had much to do with 
the downfall of Westmorland's local industries. It 
may be worth mentioning here that post-chaises were 
introduced in 1754 ; carriers' waggons in 1757 ; and 
the first stage-coach in 1762 — a conveyance drawn 
by six horses and known as " The Flying Machine." 
The application of blasting processes to the land had 
not come into vogue, so it was hard and rough and 
hummocky. In 1843 (in spite of great improvements 
forced on the Statesmen by Agricultural Societies) 
returns showed that the average value of land per 
statute acre was in Westmorland nine shillings ; 
Cumberland ten shillings and twopence ; average 
of England, eighteen shillings and tenpence. It 
might take three persons and three horses to work 
one plough. A man drove the horses, one yoked 
before another. Next came a woman or a boy to 
keep the plough- beam down. A third helper had 
the hardest work of all in guiding the plough with 
a crook ; and the furrows were sometimes left still 
so uneven that a fourth labourer had to follow with 
spade work. The ploughs were simple. It was 
quite common that a tree might be growing in the 
morning and be cut down and hewn into a plough 



and perform a good day's work before dark. Agri- 
culture was rude. " When a field was broken up 
out of grass, it was sown with black oats : all the 
manure of the estate was bestowed upon it for a crop 
of barley the next year ; and the owner laid it down 
again in the third year with a second crop of oats, 
without the addition of grass seeds : so that the future 
produce of herbage was committed to nature and to 
accident." Earlier than the Reformation, fruit trees 
had taken a place in the gardens, but most of our 
pot herbs were unknown in the eighteenth century. 
The winter fattening of cattle was poorly carried out. 
Sheep, in the " offseason," were fed on ivy and holly. 
Hogs were killed between Christmas and Candle- 
mas. Salmon cost only twopence a pound, and the 
smaller river fish were contemned. The potato was 
brought into the district about 1700, but gained favour 
only slowly. The great peat mosses, a source of 
fuel, were soft to the depth of six feet with remains 
of oak, fir, and birch — many sodden logs still discover- 
able in this mass, with axe-strokes near the roots ; 
long after the Conquest these districts had been de- 
scribed with terms of woodsmanship and hunting 
like Chase, Parks, Mastage, Pannage, Vert, Venison, 
Greenhue, Regarders, Foresters, Verderers. Brandy 
was curiously cheap about 1770 — eight shillings a 

Marbles of a dusky green, veined with white, were 
hewn occasionally from the hills near Ambleside and 
Knipe Scar. Copper, lead, and other minerals were 
abundant, but the quality has never adequately repaid 
the working. Slate quarries like those of Langdale 
maintained generations of villagers. Charcoal-burners 



were numerous, and rested at night in woodland 
wigwams that compared unfavourably with those of 
North American Indians. Bands of potters (gipsies) 
roamed the land. 

Of the recreations of the Dalesfolk perhaps wrest- 
ling came first. It is to be remarked that among the 
foremost wrestlers of the best period were some of 
the clergy : G. Wilkinson of Arlecdon, O. Littleton 
of Buttermere, and A. Brown of Egremont ; this last 
famous over all the north for prowess and as inventor 
of the " chip " known as buttocking. The average 
height among the best wrestlers was about five feet 
eleven inches. The type was just " good Dalesman " : 
broad shoulders, deep chest, stooping walk (due to 
the hills and heavy boots and clogs), aquiline noses, 
grey-blue eyes, fair hair : Vikings. These wrestlings, 
at Melmerby " rounds " on old Midsummer Day, or, 
say, at Langwathby on New Year's Day, were long- 
established though mitigated copies of the Viking 
contests. Thus Grettir Saga sets them forth : — 

" Thord rushed at Grettir, but he stood still without flinch- 
ing. Grettir then stretched his hand to the back of Thord, 
and got hold of his breeches, lifted him off his feet, over his 
head, and threw him down behind him, so that Thord's shoulders 
came down with a heavy thud. Then they said that the two 
brothers should attack him at the same time, and they did so ; 
there was a hard tussle, and each had the better by turns, 
although Grettir always had one of them under him. They 
fell by turns on their knees, or dragged each other along ; they 
grasped each other so tightly that they were all blue and bloody. 
All thought this the greatest fun, and when they stopped, 
thanked them for the wrestling, and it was the opinion of all who 
were present that the two brothers were not stronger than Grettir, 
though each of them had the strength of two strong men." 

In 1785 (surely William Wordsworth went to see 



it !) there was a prolonged wrestling contest on the 
ice of Windermere at the Ferry. The competitors 
fought it out in clogs, with a Kendal band of music 
to cheer them. 

Next among the recreations come the dancing 
parties. On Christmas Eve, according to ancient 
custom, a fiddler went round to each house in a 
valley, wishing the dwellers therein "good-night," 
and at each visit he played a traditional tune still to 
be heard in these districts, though Sir Walter Scott 
deplores it as lost. It was the tune of St. Dunstaris 
Hunts Up. Sometimes the fiddler was accompanied 
by singers. The usual thrift was thrown to the winds 
at Christmas. As they do in Norway, our Dalesmen 
made up long-lasting house parties, at which every 
possible cake and pie would be produced, accompanied 
by perennial ale posset. Those who liked the sops 
of the posset dipped for them with their spoons in a 
great bowl. This bowl was furnished with three or 
four long tubes through which those guests sucked 
who wished their liquor without sops — and without 
measure. The posset cup occupied a place of dis- 
tinction in every home. Children at Muncaster, on 
the eve of the New Year, went from house to house 
with ditties, and craved " the bounty they were wont 
to have in old King Edward's days." The donation 
expected was a pie or twopence at each house. 

The children had a game of their own — " Scotch 
and English," reminiscent of many a bloody foray. 
Boys divided themselves into two companies, each 
under a captain. Coats were doffed and piled beside 
a boundary stone. After skirmishing, the southron 
party would make a dash of invasion, exclaiming, 



" Here's a leap into thy land, dry-bellied Scot ! " If 
they could capture one of the enemy, he was set atop 
of the clothes, and could be rescued only by one of 
his own side swiftly snatching him without being 
touched. The long game went on till one or other 
party ignominiously covered the coats. Rushbearing, 
still encouraged at Grasmere and Ambleside and 
Warcop, was an ancient fashion of sending the 
children through the streets carrying to church a 
thanksgiving of flowers and rushes to strew on the 
floor of the pews [see Ecclesiastical Sonnets, 32]. 

Cock-fighting was dear to young and old. At 
most of the Grammar Schools, including that of 
Hawkshead, the head masters and their boys enjoyed 
this sport in company on Shrove Tuesday. The 
prospectus for Penrith Races ended, " A Main, as 
usual ! " At Troutbeck, near Windermere, Josiah 
Brown of Orrest Head, about a century ago, matched 
his bull to fight another man's bull — the defeated 
master to lose his animal. Josiah rode his bull all 
through the fight, and won. 

Easter caused both men and women to take out 
for the first time from the oak chests the new clothes 
that were to last the ensuing year, and there was 
feasting only less lavish and prolonged than at Christ- 
mas. And again there was rustic rejoicing at the 
sheep-shearing or " clippings " in summer. Fox- 
hunting was common all over the Fells. A couple 
of hounds and a few terriers were kept in every dale ; 
all human beings joining in the chase did so on foot. 
The sport was enforced ; it was grim enmity, for the 
fox was a very real nuisance on the Fells. Langdale 
men have been known to trace a fox into a " borran " 



at Stickle Tarn and watch it by relays of men for 
three weeks. In this case the Langdale fox proved 
cleverer than all the Langdale men. It escaped. The 
stone with which the earth had been stopped during 
the nights was one morning found to have been dis- 
lodged. Human Langdale accounted for this defeat 
by the surmise that M some Girsmer (Grasmere) chap 
mud ha' dun' it." 

The Dalesman, for social reasons, regarded his two 
counties as broken up into numerous Latings. " To 
late " meant " To invite " ; a Lating was a group of 
neighbours reasonably considered as within hail of 
each other. When any one died, two elder persons 
from each house in the Lating came to condole with 
the relatives ; the younger friends arrived to "wake " 
the body. Mourners took away from the funeral, 
for consumption in their homes, little memorial loaves 
(" arval-bread "). Many houses had a corpse door, 
only used for a funeral, and thereafter walled up again, 
to keep the spirit out — a reminiscence of Viking feel- 
ing. When a birth occurred, all the married women 
of the Lating assembled in the birth-house and feasted 
at their own cost. At a " Bidden Wedding " the 
Lating turned out en masse, most of the folk on horse- 
back. As soon as the service in church was over, 
the younger horsemen galloped a race to the bride's 
door for a ribbon. Football, wrestling, tossing the 
caber, and later, singing and cards, made up the enter- 
tainment, while bridegroom and bride sat for hours 
in state to receive presents of money or utensils, for 
the housekeeping in the new home. 

At the Reformation the English people became 
possessed of the idea that a real man should be up- 



sides with the clergy in Latin and Greek. Thus we 
advanced to the influence of Grammar Schools, an in- 
fluence powerful even in Westmorland's lonely vales. 
Many of the young Dalesmen, educated at schools like 
those of Hawkshead, Kendal, or Appleby, went out 
into the bigger world for the ministry. Ordinary 
yeomen were found, able to read the New Testament 
in Greek. Grammar School masters would not teach 
writing, which was commonly left to itinerant scriv- 
eners. The women, being regarded as cooks and 
bakers, were given hardly any schooling, could not do 
the simplest sum of arithmetic, and were seldom 
smart with the pen. 

If a Westmorland man ask for help towards a 
job, to the natural question, " What can you do ? " 
the answer may be, "Everything." "Everything?" 
f Yes, I am a labourer." This will cause the ques- 
tioner to watch Westmorland labourers, and the re- 
sult will be surprise at the multiplicity of things the 
average Dalesman can do, and the range of rural 
knowledge with which even an illiterate mind may be 
stocked. But as some readers will expect mention 
here of " Wonderful Walker," we may take Walker 
as a typical encyclopaedist of the northern valleys. 
Wordsworth's notes to the Duddon Sonnets copiously 
refer with honour to this worthy. 

The Reverend Robert Walker was born in Sea- 
thwaite, son of a small Statesman — the youngest of 
twelve children, and so weakly that his father had to 
educate him at home until he reached the age of seven- 
teen. He was then sent to school at Gosforth for 
about three years. Thereafter he became minister 
and schoolmaster of Buttermere, relying largely for 



his sustenance on " Whittlegate," which was the 
customary right of the schoolmaster to be entertained 
in turn at the board of each farmer in the valley. 
Hardly any board was furnished with more than two 
or three knives, so the schoolmaster went abroad with 
his whittle (victual-knife) dangling from his neck. 
Walker wrote his own sermons and did duty twice 
every Sunday. During the week he rose every day 
between three and four. Besides the schoolmastering, 
he ploughed, planted, shepherded on the Fells, clipped 
or salved, mowed in haytime with scythe, in harvest 
time with sickle, all for hire. He was noted for hard 
work and long work. In the winter evenings he spun 
and fashioned his own clothes, knitted or mended his 
own stockings, and fashioned his own boots from 
leather of his own tanning. When he found leisure 
for a walk he usually arrived home with stores of wool 
gathered from trees and hedges. He doctored his 
parish and lawyered it, drawing up all wills, convey- 
ances, and other covenants ; he balanced accounts, and 
often accompanied farmers to market as general ad- 
viser. From Buttermere Walker was transferred to 
Torver, with Priest's Orders, and soon after this he 
married a Buttermere servant who brought him a 
fortune of forty pounds. He next settled at Sea- 
thwaite, where he acted as clergyman and as all 
manner of things and persons for sixty-seven years, on 
a clerical endowment of £5 per annum. There he 
taught school in the church, using the Communion 
table for the writing lessons, and spinning as he 
taught. He was learned in fossils and astronomy, col- 
lected butterflies, and studied with scientific curiosity 
the properties of the atmosphere. " Every Sunday 



were served, upon the long table at which he has 
been described sitting with a child upon his knee, 
messes of broth, for the refreshment of those of his 
congregation who came from a distance, and usually 
took their seats as part of his own household. It 
seems scarcely possible that this custom could have 
commenced before the augmentation of his cure ; and 
what would to many have been a high price of self- 
denial, was paid, by the pastor and his family, for this 

Walker had the genius to be loved by generations 
of children. He had twelve children of his own, whom 
he settled in life. In the ninety-third year of his age, 
1802, he died worth two thousand pounds. His 
gross income as clergyman had never exceeded £40. 
" He was yan o' the most strodner fowk as ivver lived 
— if he hedn't hed to scrat sea sair for a livin'. I' 
Wonderful Walker' time Seeathut parson gat varra 
lile money, an' hed to mak oot wi' a lock o' odds an' 
ends, sek as he could get hod on. Amang udder 
things, t' farmers all gev him a cleease o' oo, an' a 
sheet o' hay a piece a year. T" hay were to be as 
mich as he could carry fra' t' field in a blanket. An' 
aa've heeard t' aad standards o' Seeathut say that 
sometimes he packed t' blanket seea full that he 
couldn't trail it neaa way ; an' he hed to take a lock 
on it oot afore he could manage to gan. . . . Bud 
what, he was a varra good giver, an' a varra good 
man, poor as he was." [Compare Wordsworth's 
Duddon Sonnet on Seathwaite Chapel.'] 

The two finest churches of Wordsworth's Lake- 
land proper were those of St. Kentigern's, Crosth waite, 
and St. Martin's, Windermere — this latter, a building 



the interior walls of which still bear scores of decora- 
tive texts selected by some Protestant vicar about 
the time of the Reformation. 

Most of the churches or chapels were extremely 
small — that of Buttermere was only seventeen feet 
long. The incumbents of these churches generally 
worked in the fields during the week. Many kept 
school, during certain hours of each day, in the 
chancel. In Bishop Nicolson's eighteenth-century 
Visitation we read many items such as this : " The 
Quire at Warwick, as in many other places, is shame- 
fully abused by the children that are taught in it." 
Sometimes, after Sunday service — if the day were 
very wet — folk would stay in church for a smoke. 
The parish poor were often miserably herded. At 
Hay ton in 1773 the poor were " let " to a contractor. 
In many parishes, as late as 1788, the churchwardens 
patrolled the village or town during service in search 
of church-shirkers. In 1794 the following customs 
or beliefs were noted down at Whitbeck in West 
Cumberland : — 

" Newly married persons beg corn to sow their first crop 
with, and are called corn-laiters. People always keep wake with 
the dead. The labouring ox is said to kneel at twelve o'clock at 
night, preceding the day of the Nativity ; the bees are heard to 
sing at the same hour. On the morn of Christmas Day all break- 
fast early on hack-pudding, a mess made of sheep's heart mixed 
with suet and sweet fruits. To whichever quarter a bull faces 
in lying on All Hallows' 1 Eve, from thence the wind will blow 
the greater part of the winter." 

Of the superstitions of the Dalesmen perhaps 
the most interesting was the belief in " Need-fire." 
" Need-fire " has frequently been used in Cumberland 
and Westmorland within our own time. The Danish 



word for cattle is " nod." The " Need-fire " was the 
"Neat-fire" — fire through which cattle and human 
beings were driven, really for disinfecting, supersti- 
tiously for riddance from malign spirits. It used to 
be an annual observance. All fires in a village would 
be extinguished, and a deputation patrolled the village 
to see that not a spark had been left on any hearth. 
New fire was then raised by the friction of two pieces 
of wood, and from the flames thus kindled a great 
accumulation of peat and dry wood was set alight, 
the object being to establish "plenty of reek." 
Through the reek the frightened and loudly remon- 
strant beasts were driven, one and all. This was the 
sovereign charm against cattle plague. An ailing 
wife would sometimes be passed through the reek 
after the cattle had had their turn. The magic fire 
was forwarded from farm to farm. 

In Wordsworth's boyhood, customs and beliefs 
relating to Wise Men and Witches, Beltain Fires, 
Fairies, Dobbies (Brownies), Holy Wells, and Lucks 
had not wholly disappeared. Bits of the rowan tree 
were considered effective against the bewitching of 
churns. This tree, which is the common mountain 
ash, was planted near stiles for protection to travel- 
lers in the darkness. Holed stones are still found 
hanging in stables, or built into the stable doors, 
to keep away the witches whose inquisitive fingers, 
inserted through the holes, could be snipped off with 
handy scissors. A disappointed lover was freed from 
the sorcery supposed to have crossed his amours if he 
were thoroughly rubbed over with pease-straw by per- 
sons of the opposite sex. People were sometimes con- 
scious of possessing the evil eye and were actually so 

209 ' o 


obliging as to warn strangers about their power. A 
certain Penrith man, if he met a milkmaid trudging 
through a field, was known to bid her " cover her 
milk," and he would add, " I cannot help it." A few 
people still believe that the moon is capable or incap- 
able of containing water according to the obliquity of 
its crescent. " I think it's drawing to rain, Robert." 
" Nay, net it — it'll nin rain — t' moon can hod nea 
watter." Fortune-telling still thrives, whether by cut- 
ting cards, reading the hands, or tossing cups. 

In the Note to this chapter are indicated the 
sources from which an endeavour has been made to 
furnish a picture of the men and women, with their 
manners and customs and beliefs and traditions, in or 
before Wordsworth's time. Those who care to see 
such material made into local poetry should turn to 
Sidney Gilpin's Songs and Ballads of Cumberland. 
Westmorland produced scarcely any songs or ballads 
of modern repute. The Elizabethan of Burneside, 
Richard Braithwaite, remains her one poet of some- 
thing like genius. Why was the faculty of song 
present in Cumberland and almost entirely absent in 
Westmorland ? The answer seems to lie chiefly in 
this consideration — most of the minor poets sang by 
the banks of one peaceful river, the Caldew, but not 
near its source in Lakeland ; they were dwellers in 
the plain of Inglewood Forest. Mixture of blood and 
contact with the Border, which had its own Memnon- 
notes at every sunrise, gave them song-utterance that 
had never belonged to the Norwegian settlers beside 
the torrents of the shy mountains. As for the 
Cumbrians, Josiah Relph of Sebergham (1712-43) 
wrote agreeable pastorals ; Ewan Clark of Wigton 



(1734-1811) did the like; John Stagg of Burgh-by- 
Sands (1770-1823) is Cumberland's portrait-painter 
in verse; Robert Anderson of Carlisle (1770-1833) 
was the ablest of these dialect poets, contemporary 
with Wordsworth. The works of such writers, so 
far as they dealt in sentiment, pleasantly ring the 
changes on the commonplaces (always touching 
enough) of the heart, with scarce one communication 
to the world of a new moving thought. So far as 
they are descriptive, they are of value as showing us 
the rural life of Cumberland, the Fairs, the Bride- 
wains, Upshots, Merry Nights, and other junketings. 
To turn from a mass of verse like this to Wordsworth's 
writings teaches how that poet had both the genius to 
divine a people and the genius to envelop them. To 
the educated world, Westmorland and Cumberland 
people are not the Dalesfolk of Anderson and Stagg, 
but Wordsworth's Folk. 

Space forbids that we should enlarge on the old 
Border ballads that have more or less to do with the 
borders of Lakeland : for instance, not only William 
of Cloudeslie but Johnnie Armstrong s Good-night, 
The Marriage of Sir Gawaine, the fragments of 
Child Rowland and Burd Ellen, The Lady of Bar- 
moor, Lady Jean, The Bridal of Netherby, Armstrong 
and Musgrave, and The Rising in the North — utilised, 
this last, in The White Doe of By 1st one. It would 
require another volume, rather than a page or two, to 
summarise the lore of Egremont and Millom and 
Broughton Tower and Peele Castle, Furness Abbey, 
Calder Abbey, of the Runic remains at Beckermont 
and Gosforth, of fifty other centres of romance on the 
outer circle of Lakeland, as well as of the manors 



within that circle which have tales to tell. Nor 
must anything be here attempted about Lakeland's 
Phantom Armies, vouched for by many witnesses as 
appearing repeatedly on S outer Fell. 

In the last chapter, reference was made to Words- 
worth's early-propounded theory that poetry should 
throw away verbiage and trust itself to expression 
through the language of common people. We had 
better remember, in interesting connection with this 
theory, what form of language the common people 
used in these Dales when they were talking to the 
poet and to Dorothy. It is probable that except 
where grammar-school education had led some Dales- 
man into the exercise of a learned profession, the 
vocabulary of the Dales in regular use would be con- 
siderably under one thousand words. We will give 
two specimens of Dale talk — not absolutely pure 
vernacular (for that would be intelligible only to a 
few), but the talk as it sounds to a fairly educated 
man from a neighbouring county. 

Our first specimen is selected to convey to the 
reader some sense of the loneliness of an individual life 
in one of these valleys. This is the still virgin valley 
of Duddon — the very quintessence of all that is 
most purifying and exquisite in Lakeland's beauty — 
yet the valley of whose stream Wordsworth has 
declared that the whistling blast chants its birth, and 
desolation is its patron saint. Edwin Waugh, the 
Lancashire author, about the year 1859 was travelling 
up this valley and endeavoured to find Cockley Beck 
Farm. Casting his eyes round the sweet wilderness 
at even he discovered a clump of stunted trees in 
which he guessed that there might be a cottage. He 



was right. He knocked at the cottage door, and the 
good wife opened and said with a smile : " This is t' 
pleeace. There's neea udder hoose i't daal. Will ye 
cum in ? " Presently the woman's husband, John 
Tyson, arrived from the Fells. " What," said he, 
" we're verra nee oot o' t' warld, ye see ; for Cocklo' 
Beck's seb'm mile fra a mill, five mile fra a shop, an' 
aboon fower mile fra a church — an' hard roads tull 
it, as ye'll hev sin." Tyson's wife was led on to de- 
scribe her spells of isolation, and the frights she got 
from the only tourists of these times. 

"Sometimes thooar tramps ca's, V threes an 1 fowers; an"* 
sometimes mair nor that. Here was yan cam reight in bi his- 
seP yaa day, an' steead upo' V harstan, an 1 aa gev him tuppence ; 
an 1 then he wad hev some bread an 1 cheese. Seed, aa telPt him 
he mud gang to t' dear. An* seea, when he gat ootside, aa 
whipt dear tull, an' barred it. Bud, my word, hoo he dud 
cample ! Aa rayley thought for a while he was like to brak in 
agean. . . . Well, anudder time, here was six cam tegidder, 
when oor men was away amang t' fells, efter sheep. Aa gat a 
wap on 'em cummin 1 doon V beck-side : sea aa fasten't t' hoose 
up, an' crape oot o' seet wi"* V childer. Bud, my word, didn't 
aa tremmle sair i 1 V neuk ; for they was a gey lang time afear 
they wad gang away ; an" they tried to get in every wheers, but 
they couldn't manish. Aa was terrible fain when oor men gat 
heam that day. T' heal o' that lot was tean up, efter, at 
Ammleside, for summat or anudder. Girt dozzles o' bread an' 
cheese at hed bin gan tull 'em was fand sometimes hudden 
amang t' steans bi t 1 road side." 

Our other example of Dale talk shall be extracted 
from the same book — Waugh's Rambles in the Lake 
Country — with the purpose of mentioning in a cheer- 
ful association the gloomiest and, in many ways, the 
most impressive of the smaller lakes, Wastwater. 
The hero of this account is, of course, John Wilson, 
poet of The Isle of Palms, author also of Nodes 



Ambrosianae, and one of the earliest of literary- 
men to welcome the genius of Wordsworth. He 
died Professor of Moral Philosophy in Edinburgh 
University. Ritson of Wastdale Inn is here the 
narrator : 

66 T 1 first time at Professor Wilson cam to Wastd'le Head, 
he hed a tent set up in a field, an 1 he gat it weel stock't 
wi' bread, an* beef, an* cheese, an 1 rum, an' ale, an 1 sic like. 
Then he gidder't up my granfadder, an* Thomas Tyson, an' 
Isaac Fletcher, an' Joseph Stable, an 1 aad Robert Grave, 
and some mair; an' there was gey deeds amang 'em. Then, 
nowt would sarra bud he would hev a boat, and they must all 
hev a sail. Well, when they gat into t' boat, he tell't 'em to 
be particklar careful, for he was liable to git giddy i' t' head ; 
an' if yan ov his giddy fits sud chance to cum on he mud happen 
tummle into t' watter. Well, that pleased 'em all gaily weel, 
an' they said they'd tak varra girt care on him. Then he leaned 
back an' called oot that they must pull quicker. So they did ; 
and what does Wilson do then but topples ower eb'm ov his 
back i' t' watter, with a splash. Then there was a girt cry — 
« Eh, Mr. Wilson's i' V watter ! Mr. Wilson's i' t' watter ! ' an 
yan click't, an annuder click't ; but nean o' them could get hod 
on him, and there was sek a scrowe as nivver. At last, yan o' 
them gat him round t' neck as he popped up at teal o' t' boat ; 
an' Wilson taad him to kep a good hod, for he mud happen 
slip him agean. But what, it was nowt but yan ov his bits o' 
pranks — he was snurkin' an' laughin' a' t' time. Wilson was 
a fine, gay, girt-hearted fellow, as Strang as a lion, and as lish 
as a trout ; an' he had sek antics as nivver man hed. Whativver 
ye sed tull him ye'd get your change for it gaily sean. . . . 
Aa remember there was a * Merry Neet ' at Wastd'le Head that 
varra time ; an' Wilson an' t' aad parson was there amang t' 
rest. When they'd gotten a bit on, Wilson med a sang aboot 
t' parson. He med it reight off o' t' stick end. He began wi' 
t' parson first, then he gat to t' Pope, and then he turned it to 
the devil, an sic like, till he hed 'em fallin' off their cheers wi' 
fun. T' parson was quite astonished, an' rayder vext an' a', 
but at last he brust oot laughin' wi' t' rest." 

This is the kind of speech that in the farthest 
corners of the Dales is still the medium of conversa- 



tion. It was practically the only medium used by 
the folk among whom William and Dorothy Words- 
worth passed a large portion of their lives. We know 
how successfully Coleridge has proved that more 
often than not Wordsworth in practice violated his 
own theory about the simplicities of poetic diction. 
Yet it must be put to the credit of Wordsworth that 
when he worked most intensely to convey to us the 
spirit and talk of these Dalesfolk, he achieved veri- 
similitude without once condescending to employ 
Dale dialect. 




What are the boundaries of Wordsworthshire ? It 
is hard to say. People come nigh to quarrelling 
when they attempt to define what is often called the 
Lake District. The first map in this chapter shows 
parts of Cumberland and Westmorland arranged in 
three circles, all with Grasmere as their centre. The 
outer circle has a radius of twenty-four miles, and 
touches important points like St. Bee's Head, White- 
haven, Workington, Appleby, Furness Abbey. The 
second circle, with a radius of eighteen miles, touches 
Penrith, Cartmel, Ulverston, Ravenglass, Becker- 
met, Cockermouth. The third circle, with a radius 
of fourteen miles, touches Skiddaw, Penruddock, 
Pooley Bridge on Ullswater, Bampton, Shap, Kendal, 
Newby Bridge on Windermere, Broughton-in-Fur- 
ness, Ennerdale Fell, Lowes AVater Fell, Bassen- 

This inner circle we may take as the Heart 
of Wordsworthshire. The accompanying diagram 
reduces to symbols a working hypothesis as to 
the development of Wordsworth's powers. The 
square represents the Lake District, and more par- 
ticularly represents Wordsworthshire, with Grasmere 
as its centre. At the four corners of the square 
stand Cockermouth, Penrith, Hawkshead, Kendal. 
Each of these places is the centre of a circle of in- 



fluence, part of which falls within Wordsworthshire. 
The Cockermouth Circle typifies Pure Nature — the 
cradling and early fostering of Wordsworth in a quiet 
corner of the world where the winds of heaven and 
the mountain tops ennobled each other and begat 
these fair rivers with the Celtic names which passed 

their murmurs into the boy's dreams. If one may use 
a rather poor word with a connotation that serves 
for the moment, this early period is " sensed " as that 
of a Danish Boy intoxicatingly surrounded by wild 
mountain beauty such as has been specially educative 
and dear to the Celtic race. The Penrith Circle 
shows Separation from Pure Nature — a comparatively 



unhappy period. The milieu is mainly Anglo-Saxon 
— in Inglewood Forest. The Hawkshead Circle con- 
tains Return to Nature and beginnings of the Search 
for Natural Man, as distinguished from the Fighting 
Man and the Trading Man of Penrith's history. This 
circle shows a Danish Boy entered into a Celtic land 
appropriated by Scandinavians. The free feelings 
generated in the centre of this circle at Hawks- 
head are with Wordsworth later when he prepares to 
offer himself to the French as a leader for Revolution, 
still a little later when he sits amid the wreck of Re- 
volution and gazes at the fallen Bastille, and still later 
again when he turns from the brawling world to seek 
a new balance of mind at Grasmere. The fourth circle 
has Kendal for its centre. A word of explanation 
about this circle will be given in our last chapter. 

Looking at Grasmere in this diagram, or in the 
maps, we see going on one of the most interesting of 
spiritual processes that can be found in the history of 
great minds. In Eight-Pounds-a-Year Dove Cottage 
— living even more frugally than Spinoza or Kant — 
Wordsworth feels after a poetic synthesis of beauty 
in external Nature and beauty in Man's life. The 
surrounding mountains seem to extend to him a 
hospitality. But the people of the Dales do not 
understand our philosopher. The general world does 
not understand him. Down at this steaming but 
lovely centre of that cup of hills, the philosopher 
regains the perfect rest of consecration. He finds 
himself among Quietists — these Dalesfolk, Nature's 
Quakers. The Dalesmen form an antithesis to 
the hoarse crowds of the French Revolution. The 
dearest secret of humanity — the secret divined long 



ago at Cockermouth and Hawkshead — breathes itself 
forth once more amid these strong-hearted hills. 
The secret is man's power to endure. Hence 
Wordsworth's profound short poems about Michael, 
The Brothers, Resolution. This patience in humanity 
interests Wordsworth as faith interests the theologian. 
Wordsworth finds this quality — call it patience, faith, 
what you will — in external Nature also. So we are 
given The Primrose of the Rock, and poems akin. 

" The flowers, still faithful to the stems, 

Their fellowship renew ; 
The stems are faithful to the root, 

That worketh out of view ; 
And to the rock the root adheres 

In every fibre true. 

Close clings to earth the living rock, 

Though threatening still to fall ; 
The earth is constant to her sphere ; 

And God upholds them all." 

It takes Wordsworth forty years to feel after and 
elucidate his philosophy of Being, his poetic ontology. 
The " still, sad music of humanity " and the winds on 
the mountain both give us the grandest cheer, when 
we have reached Wordsworth's central position. 

"Faith has her arch, her arch, when winds blow loud, 
Into the consciousness of safety thrilled." 

— The Everlasting Temple. 

Forty years of brooding — and then our poet- phil- 
osopher gives us — A Guide to the Lakes! Anti- 
climax ? Not at all. This " Guide " is a true book 
of philosophy. In its various editions the work goes 
through twenty-five years of further shaping before 
the author is satisfied with his philosophy. During 
most of the time he has been learning it from him- 
self, and now he applies it to noble hills and to 



peasants and yeomen among those hills whose herit- 
age of independence was ancient when the Swiss 
Cantons fought out their liberty. 

When his lesson is fully learnt, Wordsworth, at 
this last, most patient of poets (the withheld Prelude 
making subterranean music for his life, as the Hawks- 
head Beck was the unseen, familiar sweetener and 
explainer of that village), rises from lowly Grasmere 
and takes his position on the peak of Great Gable, 
or rather, aerially near it. Poised thus, Wordsworth 
looks down towards the world. The clouds that 
formerly made his canopy now part asunder below 
him, and he is willing to share with us his vision of 
earthly beauty. He bids us realise — 

4S A sense sublime 
Of something far more deeply interfused 
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, 
And the round ocean and the living air, 
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man : 
A motion and a spirit that impels 
All thinking things, all objects of all thought, 
And rolls through all things." _ Tintern Ahbey , 

Being now come to the full of his human share in the 
loneliness of power (1810), Wordsworth writes this 
singular Guide Book de haut en bas. Even the most 
subtle of his passages, containing a rapture in their 
bosom, move cloud-like, slow and cold. Humanity 
in these valleys is analysed with steadiest pulse. This 
is a Mountain-Man, not a Hill-Man. He speaks 
almost like a Great Gable. Wordsworth is one of the 
high sort who love, not so much men as Man — not 
even children so much as the Heart of Childhood. 
Nowhere in the world are children more beautiful 
than the little ones as we meet them in these valleys 



happily homing their long way from some tiny com- 
munal school. The most ordinary saunterer cannot 
forget these fairest of things in all the fair wilderness. 
Wordsworth's " Guide " does not once refer to the 
delightful children of the Dales. 

This book was composed, " to give a model of the 
manner in which topographical descriptions ought to 
be executed, in order to their being either useful or 
intelligible by evolving truly and distinctly one appear- 
ance from another." The general principles upon 
which the work was based were common to Words- 
worth and Coleridge. In his Essay on the Fine Arts, 
Coleridge lays it down that the sense of beauty con- 
sists in intuition of the relation of parts each to each, 
and of all to the whole. " The operations of nature 
tend to the production of beauty by a multiplicity of 
symmetrical parts uniting in a consistent whole." 

It is curious that neither Wordsworth nor any 
other writer has pointed out how the Lakes radiate 
from Grasmere like the spokes of a wheel (see map). 
However, the poet perceived the idea of a wheel and 
its spokes in another connection. John Briggs in his 
Letters from the Lakes (1825) hints that the idea 
belonged to the Dalesmen familiar with the Fells, and 
was expressed to him by a Little Langdale Statesman 
who had no knowledge of Wordsworth's " Guide." 
However this may be, Wordsworth takes us to a 
position midway between the peaks of Great Gable 
and Scawfell, and thence directs our attention to eight 
valleys diverging from a point under our feet, like the 
spokes issuing from the nave of a wheel. To the 
south-east we have the vale of Langdale, conducting 
the eye to the long lake of Windermere, which nearly 



reaches the sea. (See our Map of the Dales.) 
Now, turning the gaze from south-east to south, we 
catch Coniston Vale running up from the sea towards 
the nave, but, unlike the other vales, stopping half- 
way, like a broken spike projecting inwards from the 
wheel's rim. Towards the west, we find the valley of 
Duddon provided with no lake. The fourth vale is 
like the last in general features ; it is the dale of Esk, 
which meets the sea at Ravenglass. 

Next, look down, almost due west, and you see 
deep Wastdale, with its chapel and few houses and 
patchwork walled fields, and desolate Wastwater 
beyond. Then, drawing the gaze still northward, we 
have Ennerdale, and the vale of Buttermere, and the 
vale of Crummock-water, and finally Borrowdale, of 
which Keswick Valley is a continuation. Thus, with 
eight neighbouring valleys of singular diversity, we 
have made out half of our wheel. It is necessary to 
transfer our hub now from the neighbourhood of Great 
Gable to the ridge of Helvellyn, five miles off, and 
then we shall see radiating from us the eastern spokes, 
St. John's Vale, Ullswater, Hawes-water, and the dales 
of Grasmere, Rydal, and Ambleside. 

Having thus detailed the main valleys, our author 
shows us how these hills grow round Great Gable from 
every direction in an ascent of almost regular grada- 
tion. From this it follows that the several vales, 
through their varied position in relation to the sun, 
receive "every possible embellishment of beauty, 
dignity, and splendour, which light and shadow can 
bestow upon objects so diversified." Now, this is well 
worth noting, though it is perhaps a pity that the 
Statesmen and their estateless poet had not taken 



Grasmere as the true geographical centre. How- 
ever, Wordsworth demonstrates that, for example, 
in the valley of Windermere, the spectator will 
look to the south for gentle scenes, to the north 
for grand scenes. But in the valley of Keswick, 
which lies almost due north of this, the spectator will 
find the situation reversed. When the sun is setting 
in summer to the north-west, it is seen, by the spec- 
tator from the shores of Windermere, resting among 
the loftiest mountains, some of which will be half 
hidden by clouds, or by the blaze of light which that 
sun diffuses ; and the surface of the lake will reflect 
before the eye correspondent colours through every 
variety of beauty. In the vale of Keswick, at the 
same period, the sun sets over the humbler regions of 
the landscape, and showers down upon them the 
radiance which at once veils and glorifies. Of course, 
there is as marked a difference between the noontide 
appearances of these two opposite vales. The haze 
that overspreads the south, and the shadows of the 
clouds in the north, at the same time of the day, are 
each seen in these several vales, with a contrast as 

The concentration of this valley-scheme is to be 
noted. From a point between Great Gable and 
Scawfell, a shepherd would not require more than an 
hour to descend into any one of eight of the principal 
vales by which he would be surrounded ; and all the 
others lie (with the exception of Hawes-water) at but 
a small distance. Yet every valley has its distinct 
and separate character ; in some instances, as if they 
had been formed in studied contrast to each other. 
Similarly, the hills all help each other. " In magni- 



tude and grandeur they are individually inferior to 
the most celebrated of those in some other parts of 
this island ; but, in the combinations which they make, 
towering above each other, or lifting themselves in 
ridges like the waves of a tumultuous sea, and in the 
beauty and variety of their surfaces and colours, they 
are surpassed by none." 

Dwellers in the Lake District smile because, owing 
to the tyranny of the school holiday system in our 
country, the crowds of visitors come to Lakeland in 
August — precisely the worst time in the year. There 
is little of July or August in Wordsworth's poetry. 
" They who have studied the appearance of Nature 
feel that the superiority of mountainous over other 
countries is more strikingly displayed in winter than 
in summer. This is partly owing to the forms of the 
mountains, but also to the greater variety that exists 
in their winter than their summer colouring. The oak- 
coppices retain russet leaves ; the birch stands con- 
spicuous with its silver stem and puce-coloured twigs ; 
the hollies, with green leaves and scarlet berries, have 
come forth to view from among the deciduous trees, 
whose summer foliage had concealed them : the ivy is 
now apparent upon the stems and boughs of the trees, 
and upon the steep rocks. In place of the deep summer- 
green of the herbage and fern, many rich colours play 
into each other over the surface of the mountains ; 
turf, beds of withered fern, and grey rocks, being 
harmoniously blended together. The mosses and 
lichens are never so fresh and flourishing as in winter, if 
it be not a season of frost ; and their minute beauties 
prodigally adorn the foreground. Add to this the hoar- 
frost and snow, with all the varieties they create." 



As for lakes, the form of a lake is most perfect 
when, like Derwentwater, it least resembles that of a 
river. It is claimed as an advantage in this land of 
concentrated beauty that the largest of the lakes are 
comparatively small, and so the same dale generally 
furnishes a succession of lakes, instead of being filled 
with one. In these small lakes the effect of variety 
in their boundary line comes closely to the mind. 
" Sublimity is the result of Nature's first great dealings 
with the earth ; but the tendency of her subsequent 
operations is towards beauty, by a multiplicity of 
symmetrical parts uniting in a consistent whole. This 
is exemplified along the margins of these lakes. Masses 
of rock, that have been precipitated into the waters, 
lie in some places like stranded ships, or have acquired 
the compact structures of jutting piers, or project in 
little peninsulas crested with wood. The smallest 
rivulet will be found to have been not useless in shaping 
a curve that would not otherwise have existed. But 
the more powerful brooks, encroaching upon the 
level of the lake, have in course of time given birth 
to ample promontories, of sweeping outline that con- 
trasts boldly with the longitudinal base of the steeps on 
the opposite shore." Wordsworth declares Ullswater 
to be " on the whole, the happiest combination of 
beauty and grandeur which any of the lakes affords." 

The islands dispersed among these lakes are 
neither so numerous nor so beautiful as might be 
expected ; nor are they ornamented by the remains 
of castles or other places of defence, nor with the 
still more interesting ruins of religious edifices. 
Every one must regret that scarcely a vestige is left 
of the Oratory to the Virgin which stood upon 

225 p 


Chapel-Holm in Windermere, and that the Chauntry 
has disappeared from St. Herbert's Island, Derwent- 
water. There is a beautiful cluster of islands on 
Windermere ; we have a pair pleasingly contrasted 
upon Rydal; nor must the solitary green island of 
Grasmere be forgotten. In the bosom of each of the 
lakes of Ennerdale and Devockwater is a single rock, 
which, owing to its neighbourhood to the sea, is " the 
haunt of cormorants and sea-mew's clang," a music 
well suited to the stern and wild character of the 
several scenes. 

In the economy of Nature tarns are useful, as 
auxiliars to lakes ; for if the whole quantity of water 
which falls upon the mountains in storm were poured 
direct upon the plains, the habitable grounds would 
be much more subject than they are to inunda- 
tion A tarn, in a vale, implies, for the most 

part, that the bed of the vale is not happily formed ; 
that the water of the brooks can neither wholly 
escape nor diffuse itself over a large area. Accord- 
ingly, in such situations tarns are often surrounded 
by an unsightly tract of boggy ground ; but this is 
not always the case, and when the shores of the tarn 
are determined, it differs only from the lake in being 
smaller. Of this class of miniature lakes, Loughrigg 
Tarn near Grasmere is the most beautiful example. 
It has a margin of green firm meadows, of rocks, and 
rocky woods, a few reeds here, a little company of 
water-lilies there, with beds of gravel or stone beyond ; 
a tiny stream issuing neither briskly nor sluggishly 
out of it. Some few tarns have a varied outline, 
with bold heath-clad promontories ; and as they 
mostly lie at the foot of a steep precipice, the water, 


I*^^^k ■ 



where the sun is not shining upon it, appears black 
and sullen ; and, round the margin, huge stones and 
masses of rock are scattered. 

The ocean lies near these valleys without intruding 
upon them. This country is bounded on the south 
and w r est by the sea, which combines beautifully, from 
many elevated points, with the inland scenery ; and 
from the Bay of Morecambe the background of 
distant mountains is seen, composing pictures equally 
distinguished for amenity and for grandeur. There 
is no instance of the sea running far up among the 
mountains and mingling with the fresh -water lakes. 

The woods consist chiefly of oak and birch (here 
and there, wych-elm) with underwood of hazel, thorn 
and hollies, alders and willows abounding in moist 
places, and yews among the rocks. The general 
sparseness of timber is deplored, but in the woods 
of Lowther is found " an almost matchless store of 
ancient trees, and the majesty and wildness of the 
native forest." 

For the climate and its effects, it is admitted 
that rain comes down heartily, but it is frequently 
succeeded by clear, bright weather, when every brook 
is vocal, and every torrent sonorous. Days of un- 
settled weather, with partial showers, are frequent ; 
but the showers, as they fly from hill to hill, are not 
less grateful to the eye than finely interwoven pas- 
sages of gay and sad music are touching to the ear. 
Vapours exhaling from the lakes and meadows after 
sunrise in a hot season, or, in moist weather, brooding 
upon the heights or descending towards the valleys 
with inaudible motion, give a visionary character to 
everything around them ; and are in themselves so 



beautiful as to dispose us to enter into the feelings 
of those simple nations (such as the Laplanders of 
this day) by whom they are taken for guardian deities 
of the mountains — or to sympathise with others who 
have fancied these delicate apparitions to be the 
spirits of their departed ancestors. " Such clouds, 
cleaving to their stations, or lifting up suddenly 
their glittering heads from behind rocky barriers, or 
hurrying out of sight with speed of the sharpest edge, 
will often tempt an inhabitant to congratulate him- 
self on belonging to a country of mists and clouds 
and storms, and make him think of the blank sky of 
Egypt and of the cerulean vacancy of Italy as an 
unanimated and even a sad spectacle." 

It must be admitted that there are a few points 
in this " Guide " where Wordsworth, as Spiritual 
Proprietor, amuses us with his disparagements of 
other countries in comparison with his own domain. 

The colour of autumn is to be noted : It is in 
autumn that the atmosphere seems refined, and the 
sky rendered more crystalline, as the vivifying heat 
of the year abates ; the lights and shadows are more 
delicate ; the colouring is richer and more finely 
harmonised ; and, in this season of stillness, the ear 
being unoccupied, or only gently excited, the sense 
of vision becomes more susceptible of its appropriate 
enjoyments. The presence of a lake is indispensable 
to exhibit in perfection the beauty of one of these 
days. The reason of this is, that the heavens are 
not only brought down into the bosom of the earth, 
but the earth is mainly looked at, and thought 
of, through the medium of a purer element. The 
happiest time is when the equinoctial gales are de- 



parted; but their fury may probably be called to 
mind by the sight of a few shattered boughs; or it 
may happen that the figure of one of the larger birds, 
a raven or a heron, is crossing silently among the 
reflected clouds, while the voice of the real bird, from 
the element aloft, gently awakens in the spectator 
the recollection of appetites and instincts, pursuits 
and occupations, that deform and agitate the world, 
yet have no power to prevent Nature from putting 
on an aspect capable of satisfying the most intense 
cravings for the tranquil, the lovely, and the perfect, 
to which man, the noblest of her creatures, is subject. 
[See Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal, quoted on page 
255 of this book.] 

Here are beautiful thoughts about the birds : 
"Their notes listened to by the side of broad still 
water, or heard in unison with the murmuring of 
mountain-brooks, have the compass of their power 
enlarged accordingly. There is also an imaginative 
influence in the voice of the cuckoo, when that voice 
has taken possession of a deep mountain valley, very 
different from anything which can be excited by the 
same sound in a flat country." 

We are now conducted through the times of the 
Celts, Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans to the 
enfranchised shepherd or woodlander who, having 
chosen his place of residence, builds it of sods or of 
the mountain-stone, and with the permission of his 
lord encloses, like Robinson Crusoe, a small croft 
or two immediately at his door for such animals as 
he wishes to protect. Others are happy to imitate 
his example, and avail themselves of the same privi- 
leges ; and thus a population, mainly of Danish or 



Norse origin, as the dialect indicates, has crept on 
towards the more secluded parts of the valleys. 
Chapels, daughters of some distant mother-church, 
are erected in the more open vales, as those of 
13owness and Grasmere, offsets of Kendal: which 
again, after a period, as the settled population in- 
creases, become mother-churches to smaller edifices, 
planted at length in almost every dale throughout 
the country. The arable and meadow land of the 
vales is possessed in common field ; the several portions 
being marked out by stones, bushes, or trees. When 
first erected, stone fences must have little disfigured 
the face of the country, as part of the lines would 
everywhere be hidden by the quantity of native wood 
then remaining, and the lines would also be broken 
(as they still are) by the rocks which interrupt and 
vary their course. 

Cottages are scattered over the valleys and under 
the hillsides and on the rocks ; and, even to this 
day, in the more retired dales, without any intrusion 
of more assuming buildings. The dwelling-houses, 
in many instances, are of the colour of the native 
rock; but frequently the dwelling or fire-house, as 
it is ordinarily called, has been distinguished from 
the barn or byre by rough-cast and whitewash. The 
singular beauty of the chimneys will not escape the 
eye of the attentive traveller. Sometimes a low 
chimney, almost upon a level with the roof, is over- 
laid with a slate supported upon four slender pillars, 
to prevent the wind from driving the smoke down 
the chimney. Others are of a quadrangular sort, 
rising one or two feet above the roof; which low 
square is often surmounted by a tall cylinder giving 



to the cottage chimney the most beautiful shape in 
which it is ever seen. There is a pleasing harmony 
between a tall chimney of this circular form and the 
living column of smoke ascending from it through 
the still air. 

The architecture of churches and chapels is of a 
style not less appropriate and admirable than that of 
the dwelling-houses and other structures. How sacred 
the spirit by which our forefathers were directed ! 
The religio loci is nowhere violated by these unstinted 
yet unpretending works of human hands. They 
exhibit generally a well-proportioned oblong, with a 
suitable porch, in some instances a steeple tower, and 
in others nothing more than a small belfry in which 
one or two bells hang visibly. But these objects, 
though pleasing in their forms, must necessarily 
derive their chief interest from the sentiments of 
piety and reverence for the modest virtues and simple 
manners of humble life with which they may be con- 
templated. " A patriot, calling to mind the images 
of the stately fabrics of Canterbury, York, or West- 
minster, will find a heartfelt satisfaction in presence 
of this lowly pile [the chapel of Buttermere], as a 
monument of the wise institutions of our country, 
and as evidence of the all-pervading and paternal 
care of that venerable Establishment of which it 
is, perhaps, the humblest daughter. The edifice is 
scarcely larger than many of the single stones or 
fragments of rock which are scattered near it." 

Excellent advice is given to those who come into 
this district with a desire to build houses therein. We 
all know how much Lakeland has suffered from the 
eagerness of town dwellers to take up their abode 



amid its peace. The rich man from Yorkshire brings 
with him, as it were, a roof of red tiles which is like 
a shout. The man from London, after enduring the 
long unloveliness of streets, sets up in some secluded 
vale an isolated, high-shouldered white house that 
refuses to melt into the scene and irritates sober occu- 
pants of the country as if with the gibberings of a 
seaside Pierrot. Our poet says: "The principle that 
ought to determine the position, apparent size, and 
architecture of a house, viz. that it should be so con- 
structed, and (if large) so much of it hidden, as to 
admit of its being gently incorporated into the scenery 
of Nature, should also determine its colour. Sir 
Joshua Reynolds used to say, 'If you would fix upon 
the best colour for your house, turn up a stone, or 
pluck up a handful of grass by the roots, and see what 
is the colour of the soil where the house is to stand, 
and let that be your choice/ The principle is, that 
the house must harmonise with the surrounding land- 
scape : accordingly, in mountainous countries, with 
still more confidence may it be said, ' Look at the 
rocks and those parts of the mountains where the soil 
is visible, and they will furnish a safe direction.' ' 

Wordsworth's antipathy to white houses comes 
out in Lines written with a Slate Pencil upon a Stone : 

" If thou art one 
On fire with thy impatience to become 
An inmate of these mountains — if, disturbed 
By beautiful conceptions, thou hast hewn 
Out of the quiet rock the elements 
Of thy trim Mansion destined soon to blaze 
In snow-white splendour — think again ! " 

The following passage may be quoted in regard to 



the decay of Statesmen and the duty of those wealthy 
men who come into the district to take up the States- 
man's lands : " These people participate in the general 
benefit which the island has derived from the in- 
creased value of the produce of land, brought about 
by the establishment of manufactories, and in the 
consequent quickening of agricultural industry. But 
this is far from making them amends ; and now that 
home-manufactures are nearly done away, though the 
women and children might, at many seasons of the 
year, employ themselves with advantage in the fields 
beyond what they are accustomed to do, yet still all 
possible exertion in this way cannot be rationally 
expected from persons whose agricultural knowledge 
is so confined, and, above all, where there must neces- 
sarily be so small a capital. The consequence then 
is — that proprietors and farmers being no longer able 
to maintain themselves upon small farms, several are 
united in one, and the buildings go to decay or are 
destroyed ; and that the lands of the Statesmen being 
mortgaged, and the owners constrained to part with 
them, they fall into the hands of wealthy purchasers, 
who in like manner unite and consolidate, and, if 
they wish to become residents, erect new mansions 
out of the ruins of the ancient cottages, whose little 
enclosures, with all the wild graces that grew out of 
them, disappear. The feudal tenure under which the 
estates are held has indeed done something towards 
checking this influx of new settlers ; but so strong is 
the inclination, that these galling restraints are en- 
dured ; and it is probable that in a few years the 
country on the margin of the Lakes will fall almost 
entirely into the possession of gentry, either strangers 



or natives. It is then much to be wished that a better 
taste should prevail among these new proprietors, 
and, as they cannot be expected to leave things to 
themselves, that skill and knowledge should prevent 
unnecessary deviations from that path of simplicity 
and beauty along which, without design and uncon- 
sciously, their humble predecessors have moved. In 
this wish the author will be joined by persons of pure 
taste thoughout the whole island, who, by their visits 
(often repeated) to the Lakes in the north of England, 
testify that they deem the district a sort of national 
property, in which every man has a right and interest 
who has an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy." 

And now let us take leave of the "Guide" in 
quoting the following passage, which conveys to us a 
clear impression of the Poet's Land : " Towards the 
head of these Dales was found a perfect Republic 
of Shepherds and Agriculturists, among whom the 
plough of each man was confined to the maintenance 
of his own family, or to the occasional accommodation 
of his neighbour. Two or three cows furnished each 
family with milk and cheese. The chapel was the 
only edifice that presided over these dwellings, the 
supreme head of this pure Commonwealth ; the mem- 
bers of which existed in the midst of a powerful 
empire like an ideal society or an organised com- 
munity, whose constitution had been imposed and 
regulated by the mountains which protected it. 
Neither high-born nobleman, knight, nor esquire was 
here ; but many of these humble sons of the hills had 
a consciousness that the land which they walked over 
and tilled had for more than five hundred years been 
possessed by men of their name and blood; and 



venerable was the transition, when a curious traveller, 
descending from the heart of the mountains, had come 
to some ancient manorial residence in the more open 
parts of the Vales, which, through the rights attached 
to its proprietor, connected the almost visionary 
mountain republic he had been contemplating with 
the substantial frame of society as existing in the laws 
and constitution of a mighty empire." 

There we perceive William and Dorothy Words- 
worth entering into possession of "The Luck of Dove 
Cottage," which has been more potent for the empery 
of intellect than all the castled " Lucks " of Ingle- 
wood. The Luck of the Wordsworths was, to find 
a virgin population of a virgin region guarded by a 
massed battalion of hills breathing that peaceful charm 
which is engendered of strength mailed in beauty. 




We have next to observe how, in the alchemics of 
poesy, this Lakeland with its inhabitants was made 
into or revealed as something rich and strange. 
Faithfully trying to summarise the literature descrip- 
tive of our two counties, as that literature described 
them about the period of Wordsworth's advent, we 
have in our fifteenth chapter displayed a set of 
people elemental, forceful with the largely animal 
force of primitives, good enough, certainly not too 
good, for human nature's daily food. Wordsworth, 
as we are to see from the many quotations now to 
follow, moved about in social worlds not realised, after 
he passed from Hawkshead and Cambridge. Even 
when the Bastille had fallen, he picked up one of its 
stones " in the guise of an enthusiast," yet in honest 
truth he looked for something that he could not find, 
" affecting more emotion " than he felt. He was "un- 
prepared with needful knowledge," and so the Revolu- 
tion found him indifferent, like one abruptly entering 
a theatre where the stage is busy with an action far 
advanced {Prelude, ix. 92). One clear thought in- 
deed was ever with him, a principle seemingly inborn, 
or at any rate ingrained into the young poet's mind 
at Cockermouth Castle and on Penrith Beacon : 

"In the regal sceptre, and the pomp 
Of orders and degrees, I nothing found 


Then, or had ever, even in crudest youth, 
That dazzled me, but rather what I mourned 
And ill could brook, beholding that the best 
Ruled not, and feeling that they ought to rule." 

The poet had early breathed the atmosphere of a 
democracy so unartificial as to give ultimate balance 
to all his thinking : 

" For, born in a poor district, and which yet 
Retaineth more of ancient homeliness 
Than any other nook of English ground, 
It was my fortune scarcely to have seen, 
Through the whole tenour of my school-day time, 
The face of one who, whether boy or man, 
Was vested with attention or respect 
Through claims of wealth or blood ; nor was it least 
Of many benefits, in later years 
Derived from academic institutes 
And rules, that they held something up to view 
Of a Republic, where all stood thus far 
Upon equal ground ; that we were brothers all 
In honour, as in one community, 
Scholars and gentlemen ; where, furthermore, 
Distinction open lay to all that came, 
And wealth and titles were in less esteem 
Than talents, worth, and prosperous industry. 
Add unto this, subservience from the first 
To presences of God's mysterious power 
Made manifest in Nature's sovereignty, 
And fellowship with venerable books, 
To sanction the proud workings of the soul, 
And mountain liberty ." 

In France, as in the North of England, Words- 
worth's heart had certainly gone out trustfully to 
the peasants. It is not fair to criticise him as if 
he thought he had discovered in Westmorland and 
Cumberland a peculiar people. Had he lived in our 
age to read certain studies of Russian peasants, or 
Marguerite Audoux's intuitions of Normandy's farm 



life as given in her Marie Claire, he would probably 
have been one of the first to delight in these tales 
about the bedrock of humanity revealed universally 
and best in the annals of the poor. 

" When we chanced 
One day to meet a hunger-bitten girl, 
Who crept along fitting her languid gait 
Unto a heifer's motion by a cord 
Tied to her arm, and picking thus from the lane 
Its sustenance, while the girl with pallid hands 
Was busy knitting in a heartless mood 
Of solitude, and at the sight my friend 
In agitation said, ' 'Tis against that 
That we are fighting,' I with him believed 
That a benignant spirit was abroad 
Which might not be withstood."" 

— Prelude, ix. 509. 

The French girl with her heifer and Dorsetshire Mar- 
garet and the Cumberland leech-gatherer all move 
towards the great Judge under one sky. Let us not 
forget, however, that Wordsworth was right in claim- 
ing the background of a peculiar land for his own peasant 
neighbours, a land of unoppressed beauty which speaks 
to us through him with serene authority : 

" To every natural form, rock, fruit, or flower, 
Even the loose stones that cover the highway, 
I gave a moral life : I saw them feel, 
Or linked them to some feeling : the great mass 
Lay bedded in a quickening soul, and all 
That I beheld respired with inward meaning. 
Add that whate'er of Terror or of Love 
Or Beauty Nature's daily face put on 
From transitory passion, unto this 
I was as sensitive as waters are 
To the sky's influence in a kindred mood 
Of passion ; was obedient as a lute 
That waits upon the touches of the wind." 

— Prelude, iii. 127. 


It has been said elsewhere that Wordsworth had 
the genius to envelop the Dalesfolk with the truest 
poetic atmosphere, but that he had also the genius 
to divine them as none of the local historians or singers 
had done. They were and are a mute people. They 
hide away their souls ; even husband hides heart and 
soul from wife. Their reticence is not blankness of 
mind. Wordsworth divined and sometimes (largely 
through Dorothy) drew out what he divined : 

" Awed have I been by strolling Bedlamites ; 
From many other uncouth vagrants (passed 
In fear) have walked with quicker step; but why 
Take note of this ? When I began to inquire, 
To watch and question those I met, and speak 
Without reserve to them, the lonely roads 
Were open schools in which I daily read 
With most delight the passions of mankind, 
Whether by words, looks, sighs, or tears, revealed ; 
There saw into the depth of human souls, 
Souls that appear to have no depth at all 
To careless eyes. And — now convinced at heart 
How little those formalities to which 
With overweening trust alone we give 
The name of Education have to do 
With real feeling and just sense; how vain 
A correspondence with the talking world 
Proves to the most ; and called to make good search 
If man's estate, by doom of Nature yoked 
With toil, be therefore yoked with ignorance ; 
If virtue be indeed so hard to rear, 
And intellectual strength so rare a boon — 
I prized such walks still more, for there I found 
Hope to my hope, and to my pleasure peace 
And steadiness, and healing and repose 
To every angry passion. There I heard, 
From mouths of men obscure and lowly, truths 
Replete with honour ; sounds in unison 
With loftiest promises of good and fair." 

— Prelude, xiii. 157. 


The poet — if we may recur to the Alfoxden symbols 
— becomes again more interested in the bread than 
in the brandy of life. At Alfoxden, in spite of visions 
of truest inspiration, he had often reached depths of 
moral despair. [To think that a William Godwin 
should have power to reduce a Wordsworth to such 
a pass !] And it was not flights with Coleridge into 
the supernaturals of fancy that restored to Words- 
worth equable poise of soul ; no, it was Dorothy who 
accomplished this, by wooing him back to Nature. 

" Depressed, bewildered thus, I did not walk 
With scoffers, seeking light and gay revenge 
From indiscriminate laughter, nor sate down 
In reconcilement with an utter waste 
Of intellect ; such sloth I could not brook, 
(Too well I loved, in that my spring of life, 
Pains-taking thoughts, and truth, their dear reward) 
But turned to abstract science, and there sought 
Work for the reasoning faculty enthroned 
Where the disturbances of space and time — 
Whether in matters various, properties 
Inherent, or from human will and power 
Derived — find no admission. Then it was — 
Thanks to the bounteous Giver of all good ! — 
That the beloved Sister in whose sight 
Those days were passed, now speaking in a voice 
Of sudden admonition — like a brook 
That did but cross a lonely road, and now 
Is seen, heard, felt, and caught at every turn, 
Companion never lost through many a league — 
Maintained for me a saving intercourse 
With my true self; for, though bedimmed and changed 
Much, as it seemed, I was no further changed 
Than as a clouded and a waning moon : 
She whispered still that brightness would return ; 
She, in the midst of all, preserved me still 
A Poet, made me seek beneath that name, 
And that alone, my office upon earth." 

—Prelude, xi. 321. 


And so — 

". . . Nature's self, 
By all varieties of human love 
Assisted, led me back through opening day 
To those sweet counsels between head and heart 
Whence grew that genuine knowledge, fraught with 

P eace;1 —Prelude, xi. 351. 

Amid the lovelinesses that for most men of the 
artistic temperament simply fan the cheek and quit 
it like the breeze, Wordsworth exults to find his soul 
harmonised with the total sphere ; nay, harmonised, 
in its subconscious heritage, with the Universal. 

Here may be expressed a belief that howsoever — 
through Coleridge altogether or not ; at any rate 
some will think it was mostly by the native con- 
struction of his own mind— howsoever Wordsworth 
attained his metaphysic, that metaphysic is likely to 
be more in accord with the philosophic thought of 
the uprising generation than it has been welcome 
to the speculations of the nineteenth century. Pure 
Hegelian Idealism equally with Materialism makes 
man a bubble on the stream. Either system submits 
man to necessity. It little signifies whether one 
system regards mind as a bubble of the spirit — a 
syllable in the language of "God" — or another 
system regards mind as a froth from matter. 
Philosophy seems now wholly teleological, and dis- 
cerns a way and meaning and value for man's soul 
in the study of its highest manifestations, not its 
lowest. Professor Arthur Thomson, a representa- 
tive of pure science, puts the matter thus : 

66 When we consider any particular corner in the inanimate 
world, say the making of the Niagara Falls, or the making of 

241 q 


the frost flowers on the window, we do not require in our re- 
description more than mechanical formulae; but when we con- 
sider Nature, not in isolated pieces but as a harmonious whole, 
the progressive order, the orderly progress, and the beauty of 
it all, when we go on to recognise that the earth has been the 
parent of its tenants, then we must read back into the world- 
egg with which we start a potentiality of giving rise to all that 

Such is Wordsworth's way of thinking. This poet 
— far, far, of course, from Materialism — has been 
accused of being simply a subjective Idealist. His 
teleology is firm, and his poetic philosophy, while it 
repudiates any mechanical theory of creation, equally 
repudiates idealistic Pantheism. The tenor of this 
chapter's quotations from poetry suffices to prove 
this. But a letter of Wordsworth's addressed to 
Mrs. Clarkson in 1814, and published in the Athenceum 
of February 27, 1904, will here interestingly illustrate 
the poet's middle- way between subjective Idealism 
and the mechanical theory of God that — though re- 
moved from Materialism — is not much more helpful 
than that mechanism of a no-God : 

" Your friend condemns me for not distinguishing between 
Nature as the work of God and God Himself. But where does 
she find this doctrine inculcated? Whence does she gather 
that the author of the Excursion looks upon Nature and God 
as the same ? He does not indeed consider the supreme Being 
as bearing the same relation to the universe as a watchmaker 
bears to a watch. In fact, there is nothing in the course of 
religious education adopted in this country, and in the use 
made by us of the Holy Scriptures, that appears to me so in- 
jurious as the perpetually talking about making by God. Oh ! 
that your correspondent had heard a conversation which I had 
in bed with my sweet little boy, four and a half years old, upon 
this subject the other morning. 'How did God make us? 
Where is God ? How does He speak ? He never spoke to me? 
I told him that God was a Spirit, that He was not like his 



flesh which he could touch ; but more like his thoughts in his 
mind which he could not touch. The wind was tossing the fir- 
trees, and the sky and light were dancing about in their dark 
branches, as seen through the window. Noting these fluctua- 
tions he exclaimed eagerly, 'There's a bit of Him, I see it 
there."* This is not meant entirely for father's prattle, but, for 
Heaven's sake, in your religious talk with children say as little 
as possible about making" 

As we cannot use logic to prove to ourselves what 
lies in us of the greatest, so we need not expect 
" criticism " to reveal Wordsworth's gospel of natural 
sanity. He could not himself produce cold logic to 
prove its truth. We must be content to dwell in 
the region of intuitions which he has best explored, 
until by cumulative feeling we become convinced that 
we " are greater than we know," as Nature is. This 
cumulative impression — impossible indeed to achieve 
except by long loving of Nature's persistent harmonies 
and Life's faithful Highest " ere they seem worthy of 
our love" — is indicated in the introductory lines of 
the Excursion : 

66 On Man, on Nature, and on Human Life, 
Musing in solitude, I oft perceive 
Fair trains of imagery before me rise, 
Accompanied by feelings of delight 
Pure, or with no unpleasing sadness mixed ; 
And I am conscious of affecting thoughts 
And dear remembrances, whose presence soothes 
Or elevates the Mind, intent to weigh 
The good and evil of our mortal state. 
— To these emotions, whencesoe'er they come, 
Whether from breath of outward circumstance, 
Or from the Soul — an impulse to herself — 
I would give utterance in numerous verse. 
Of Truth, of Grandeur, Beauty, Love, and Hope, 
And melancholy Fear subdued by Faith ; 
Of blessed consolations in distress ; 
Of moral strength, and intellectual Power ; 


Of joy in widest commonalty spread ; 

Of the individual Mind that keeps her own 

Inviolate retirement, subject there 

To Conscience only, and the law supreme 

Of that Intelligence which governs all — 

I sing: — c fit audience let me find though few ! '" 

Let us try here the method of contrast. A sincere 
and honoured thinker of our age — perhaps the most 
mordant questioner we possess, is a poet as well as a 
lover of the poor of England, distinguished among 
great novelists. He puts before us these thoughts as 
floating through the mind of Deity : 

44 My labours — logicless — 

You may explain ; not I : 
Sense-sealed I have wrought, without a guess 
That I evolved a Consciousness 

To ask for reasons why. 

Strange that ephemeral creatures who 

By my own ordering are, 
Should see the shortness of my view, 
Use ethic tests I never knew, 

Or made provision for ! " 

— From Time's Laughingstock. 

These ideas are not a mere whimsical interlude of 
thought such as Browning conceivably might have 
tossed off for a dramatic purpose. They are an ironic 
but perfectly sincere expression of a man's relation to 
" God." It is good for us all to have such an expres- 
sion to ponder, as a corrective to any optimism that 
fears deep introspection and deep reflection upon the 
mysteries seemingly outside of us. We may put 
between Mr. Thomas Hardy and Wordsworth, Tol- 
stoy's reminiscence of the bear : 

<c I remember once, when a bear attacked me and pressed me 
down under him, driving the claws of his enormous paw into 



my shoulder, I felt no pain. I lay under him and looked into 
his warm, large mouth, with its wet, white teeth. He breathed 
above me, and I saw how he turned his head to get into position 
to bite into both my temples at once ; and in his hurry, or from 
excited appetite, he made a trial snap in the air just above 
my head, and again opened his mouth — that red, wet, hungry 
mouth, dripping with saliva. I felt I was about to die, and 
looked into the depths of that mouth, as one condemned to 
execution looks into the grave dug for him. I looked, and I 
remember that I felt no fear or dread. I saw with one eye, 
beyond the outline of that mouth, a patch of blue sky gleaming 
between purple clouds roughly piled on one another, and I 
thought how lovely it was up there ! " 

Thomas Hardy might question the significance of 
this incidental patch of blue sky and say that a Bear 
is the inevitable thing for every man. But some dis - 
ciples of the other poet would reply,' 'Wordsworth, boy 
and man, was able to value that patch of blue without 
help from any bear — saw almost habitually in Nature 
and in the mind of Man good things that are squan- 
dered through the world of percipience with only too 
few percipients habituated from childhood to note 
them." Learn life from a chronicle, and you may 
come to think that history is a smothering lie agreed 
upon. Learn as Wordsworth learned by Derwent 
and on Skiddaw, and it is the constantly recurring 
P patch of blue " that carries the highest significance. 
We fully realise that the " patch of blue " is a film 
not even sky-deep in the immensities, yet it belongs 
to the suggestions of persistent beauty, as a fine 
thought of Plato's or Wordsworth's does. 

" Above all 
Were re-established now those watchful thoughts 
Which, seeing little worthy or sublime 
In what the Historian's pen so much delights 
To blazon — power and energy detached 


From moral purpose — early tutored me 
To look with feelings of fraternal love 
Upon the unassuming things that hold 
A silent station in this beauteous world." 

— Prelude, xiii. 39. 

" Dreamer of dreams, your Wordsworth," says 
some reader, " he gives us a wistful hope instead of a 
faith. We are still at the beginning of things. All 
that the philosophers, all that the poets have given 
us as our inheritance is only a larger sheaf of straws." 
Not so. No one will claim that Wordsworth has pro- 
nounced the final word on any matter. But if we are 
still at the beginning of things, he has heartened us to 
carry on our beginnings. Nature, for his immediate 
predecessors, had little spiritual comfort, for it was 
little loved. Look still further back into the ballads, 
songs, and saws of the times Wordsworth distrusted, 
and see how they all express a dread of nature : 

"Says Tweed to Till, 
What gars ye rin sae still ? 
Says Till to Tweed, 
Though ye rin wi 1 speed, 

An 1 I rin slaw, 
For ae man that ye droon, 

I droon twa." 

Wordsworth has changed all this, and that is 
indeed a helpful contribution to our beginnings : 

" These barren rocks, your stern inheritance ; 
These fertile fields, that recompense your pains ; 
The shadowy vale, the sunny mountain-top; 
Woods waving in the wind their lofty heads, 
Or hushed; the roaring waters, and the still — 
They see the offering of my lifted hands, 
They hear my lips present their sacrifice, 
They know if I be silent, morn or even : 


For, though in whispers speaking, the full heart 
Will find a vent ; and thought is praise to him, 
Audible praise, to thee, omniscient Mind, 
From whom all gifts descend, all blessings flow ! " 

— Excursion, ix. 743. 

Wordsworth still can teach this thankfulness to 
any one who chooses to study thankfulness as some 
study the ways of greed. But Wordsworth can 
teach more than affectionate admiration of nature ; 
he teaches us that, at our best, we may feel our- 
selves part and parcel of the best in the Universe, so 
far as it is revealed. Why must we be bidden to 
stare stupidly into the blanks of space alone, and not 
also into the starry depths of Man's undaunted and 
unexhausted mind ? Bid fancy look down from 
Helvellyn upon the road, and there descry a black 
speck moving. It is Wordsworth. The tenth of 
that speck is a poet's head ; a tenth of that tenth, 
his brain ; the tenth of the tenth of the tenth of the 
speck, his imaginative faculty. This tenth of a tenth 
of a tenth of the black speck lifts us — a mind appar- 
ently was made to lift other minds — and teaches us 
to comprehend and trust the All. It covers or dis- 
covers these hills until they are almost forgotten as 
Westmorland, and draw reverent men and women 
from all parts of the earth to Wordsworthshire. 
This is a mighty poet's function. Once, at night, 
Wordsworth and two companions climbed a mountain 
in a fog (Prelude, xiv. 11) and suddenly all three 
strugglers found the mists lying white at their feet, 
stricken through with the moonlit serenity of clearest 
heavens : 

" There I beheld the emblem of a mind 
That feeds upon infinity, that broods 



Over the dark abyss, intent to hear 

Its voices issuing forth to silent light 

In one continuous stream ; a mind sustained 

By recognitions of transcendent power, 

In sense conducting to ideal form, 

In soul of more than mortal privilege. 

One function, above all, of such a mind 

Had Nature shadowed there, by putting forth, 

"Mid circumstances awful and sublime, 

That mutual domination which she loves 

To exert upon the face of outward things, 

So moulded, joined, abstracted, so endowed 

With interchangeable supremacy, 

That men, least sensitive, see, hear, perceive, 

And cannot choose but feel. The power, which all 

Acknowledge when thus moved, which Nature thus 

To bodily sense exhibits, is the express 

Resemblance of that glorious faculty 

That higher minds bear with them as their own. 

This is the very spirit in which they deal 

With the whole compass of the universe: 

They from their native selves can send abroad 

Kindred mutations; for themselves create 

A like existence ; and, whene'er it dawns 

Created for them, catch it, or are caught 

By its inevitable mastery, 

Like angels stopped upon the wing by sound 

Of harmony from Heaven's remotest spheres. 

Them the enduring and the transient both 

Serve to exalt; they build up greatest things 

From least suggestions ; ever on the watch, 

Willing to work and to be wrought upon, 

They need not extraordinary calls 

To rouse them ; in a world of life they live, 

By sensible impressions not enthralled, 

But by their quickening impulse made more prompt 

To hold fit converse with the spiritual world, 

And with the generations of mankind 

Spread over time, past, present, and to come, 

Age after age, till Time shall be no more. 11 


t/5 •-) 

< T3 

* s 

8 I 

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Pi r 1 



Dorothy Wordsworth somehow, from among 
modern writing women, as Charles Lamb from among 
men, has crept closest to our country's heart. She 
is exquisite, in sensibility and in the faculty of 
wonder. Her very meekness furnishes her dignity, 
so that she has created a fresh standard of judgment 
about " quality " in a lady. Sister, slave, and chief 
human inspirer of one of the three supreme poets of 
her England — from infancy by Derwent to her rest 
by Rothay, she moved, unspoiled and all-unconscious, 
amid those Beatitudes which possibly stirred waiting 
mountain echoes ere ever they sank into the soul of 

Some accuse Dorothy of having withdrawn her 
brother from creative design. We have to remember 
that both William and Dorothy were out-of-door 
observers and out-of-door thinkers. Perhaps it is a 
temptation of Nature itself to draw the mortal mind 
into the vague, although Walt Whitman declares 
that all the greatest poetry of the world has been 
created au grand air. No doubt Wordsworth had too 
many women about him, ready to humour him at 
any hour by taking up the pen in his service. His 
mind had ever been retentive for unwritten com- 
position. Tint em Abbey was begun and completed 
in one day without notes, and the author's brain at 



evening was able to discharge that work at a single 
birth, perfect. An ode is the outcome in song of a 
prolonged but single rapture, and a man fond of 
conceits might hold with some show of truth that 
Tiutern Abbey is the only authenticated single rapture 
of this sort. In creating the Prelude and the Excur- 
sion Wordsworth indeed confined himself to the heroic 
monotony of blank verse, yet through these poems 
he poured his thoughts far too loosely : they are 
leisurely rhapsodies, long-drawn odes. We know 
that Dorothy had nothing to do with the planning of 
that triad of poems which Wordsworth set before 
himself as his " Cathedral." This was quite out of the 
range of her imagination. It was here that Words- 
worth failed most conspicuously, for it was here he 
made his most deliberate bid against Milton's fame, 
and he found years wherein to be too deliberate. 
Hence a plan all-comprehensive, instead of strong by 
exclusion of the unessential. Wordsworth brought 
himself to believe that he could transmute anything 
into poetry ; he mistakenly took all knowledge for his 
province. Given a sea whereon to voyage, Words- 
worth could not steer a straight course. Given a 
quarry, he left it a quarry glorified. This diffuseness 
is to be laid, not to the charge of Dorothy, but to the 
charge of Wordsworth himself. The wind at Hawks- 
head was more his teacher than Virgil. At Cam- 
bridge, more Greek and less reading in Spanish and 
Italian would have been for his discipline. The 
sonnet — that unexpected austerity of form springing 
from exuberant Romance, demanding the care of a 
carver in ebony, onyx, or enamel, became to Words- 
worth of the highest value for training in compression 



of thought. Here, but especially in later and more 
joyous lyric forms — or rather lyric subjects, since 
form she left to her brother — Dorothy was admitted 
almost to equality of taste with the poet. In power to 
perceive germ poetry of the most natural lyric sort, 
Dorothy was scarcely less marvellous than her brother. 
Then this was odd in so self-contained a man, that 
although few preachers can utter a good sermon upon a 
prescribed text, and painters can seldom paint what 
others have discovered for them, Wordsworth was 
meekly glad to be led up to a subject — by Dorothy. 
In lyric work he never scorned a partnership — with 
Dorothy. Baking, cooking, washing, ironing, doing 
practically everything demanded at Dove Cottage by 
imperative economy — herself ever ready to fall back 
on the remembered cheer of a Windy Brow potato — 
Dorothy was a soft whirlwind of delicate cares round 
the riches of her brother's mind. For thrift, upsides 
in half of every day with Wonderful Walker, she was 
on a level with her wonderful William for the other 
half, as a lover of letters and as a lover of the book 
of Nature, nobly planned to warn, comfort, and even 
occasionally command a lyric poet. 

A thoughtful boy may well be envied while, 
sprawled on a hearthrug, he reads by the firelight 
Lamb's Essays for the first time. More to be envied 
are the young or old persons who, with a knowledge 
of Lakeland and of William Wordsworth's best poetry 
about Lakeland, are ever stealing back to Dorothy 
Wordsworth's Grasmere Journal for fresh lessons on 
the art of noting. Dorothy would have shrunk from 
being called a writing woman. Hers was Cumber- 
land shyness. Her immortal Journals — immortal, if 



the spirit of daisies be immortal — were penned for 
William's help, and were copied by the gentle writer 
for her friend Mrs. Clarkson. Dorothy resisted all 
temptations towards publishing the Grasmere portion 
of these records. It seemed to her it would be a 
violation of self to yield thus. Nay, to ourselves the 
now-permitted reading of her holy mind — especially 
as it is expressed about her poet — conveys a certain 
sense of privilege invaded. Yet " AVordsworthshire " 
would be lorn without the Journal. Who wrote the 
noblest Guide to the Lakes — William or Dorothy ? 
Let the reader study every page of the Journal and 
of the other work before attempting to decide — and 
then he will not decide. The two books are as com- 
plementary, and as little comparable, as Great Gable 
and Grasmere. 

Dorothy never ran ahead or ran back. She did 
not torment herself, like William, towards deduc- 
tions. She was glad for what she actually saw in 
the sun and the flickering shadows, and supremely 
exemplified what Elizabeth Barrett Browning called 
" Woman's sense of Now." Hence that " rest at the 
heart's core " — to quote in turn Christina Rossetti — 
that comes to us when we read Dorothy's thoughts by 
William's firelight. 

It has already been remarked that the Words- 
worths did their thinking out-of-doors. As an out- 
of-door observer, Dorothy strikes one as having little 
care for the beauty of houses and much care for 
colour in vegetation — with an especial welcome for 
yellow whenever she can detect its cheerful tints in 
a landscape not prodigal of open joy. Dorothy notes 
a decayed house in Borrowdale, with tall, silent rocks, 


mm u 



gaunt through the broken windows — but even this 
touch is really derived from William Wordsworth 
(page 49, Knight's edition of the Journals, vol. L). 
At Rydal, one evening, while air and lake are still, 
Dorothy grows sad, and can hardly drag herself away, 
gazing at one cottage-light in the vale, with so much 
of the day left that the woods, trees, and houses can 
be distinguished, while two or three different kinds 
of birds sing at intervals on the opposite shore (34). 
Beasts are not often mentioned. Going through a 
field, Dorothy sits down for an hour, afraid to pass 
a cow. "The cow looked at me, and I looked at 
the cow, and whenever I stirred the cow gave over 
eating " (102). Upon the side of Loughrigg Dorothy's 
heart feels dissolved in the view, when she is — not 
startled, but called from her reverie by a noise as of 
a child paddling with shoes. She looks up and per- 
ceives a lamb. It approaches nearer and nearer, as 
if to examine the newcomer, and stands a long time. 
The newcomer does not move. At last the lamb 
runs past her and goes bleating along the pathway, 
seeming to be seeking its mother (36). For birds 
Dorothy has more attention than for beasts. The 
busy stone-chats curiously amuse her quiet eye. They 
are frequently to be seen in these pages. Their rest- 
less voices are sometimes as busy as their wings while 
they skim along the waters, following each other, 
their shadows under them, until they return to the 
stones on the shore, chirping with the same unwearied 
voice (32). We see the heron swimming with only 
its neck out of water, and beating and struggling 
long ere it wings its way out from its adventure (35). 
In Dove Cottage garden the blackbird sits quietly in 



its nest, though rocked by the wind and beaten by 
the rain (32). One night, as brother and sister turn 
a corner near their little shelter, with the church and 
the whole vale before them, they feel that it is a 
blessed place. The birds are about them on all sides. 
Skobbies, robins, bullfinches and crows fly over 
their heads, as the loiterers are warned by the 
sound of the beating of the air above. They stay 
till the light of day is going, and the little birds have 
begun to settle their singing. But a thrush not far 
off seems to sing louder and clearer than the thrushes 
had sung when it was quite day (115). At another 
time William, lying still in the orchard, finds a little 
bird perched upon his leg — a young creature that 
has just left its nest, equally unacquainted with man 
and unaccustomed to struggle against the storms and 
winds. Presently it seems bemazed in the stiff 
boughs of the apple tree, with the wind blowing 
(131). For more than an hour Dorothy watches 
some swallows at their new-built nest — where they 
sit both mornings and evenings, but do not pass the 
nights. Every now and then there is a motion in 
their wings, a sort of tremulousness, and they sing 
a low song to one another. Ten days are employed 
in building this nest, and lo ! it falls down. Next 
morning Dorothy goes out on purpose to see the 
swallows' faces (134). Again, when Dorothy is to 
start on a long journey, she bids farewell to her 
swallows. They had sung to her after she was in 
bed ; they had seemed to be singing to one another 
just before they settled to rest for the night (137). 
Two ravens are observed flying high, high in the 
sky, the sun shining upon their bellies and their 



wings, long after there is none of his light to be seen 
but a little patch on the top of Loughrigg Fell (116). 
Dorothy and William hear a strange sound in the 
Bainrigg's Wood, as they drift upon the lake ; it 
seems in the wood, but it must have been above it, 
for presently a raven appears very high over them. 
It calls out and the dome of the sky seems to echo 
the sound. It calls again and again as it flies on- 
wards, and the mountains give back the sound as if 
from their centre; a musical bell-like answering to 
the bird's hoarse voice. Both the call of the bird 
and the echo are audible after he can be seen no 
more (44 — compare Excursion, iv. 1178). 

Both William and Dorothy Wordsworth made it 
a practice to talk with wayfarers whom they met or 
overtook. One strongly suspects that William was 
impelled to this practice as much by literary curiosity 
as by brotherly warmth of feeling : 

" Shepherds, dwellers in the valleys, men 
Whom I already loved ; not verily 
For their own sokes, but for the hills and fields 
Where was their occupation and abode." — Michael. 

But Dorothy was to such chance acquaintances like 
a touch of sunlight on the shoulder : 

" Birds in the bower, and lambs in the green field, 
Could they have known her, would have loved; 

Her very presence such a sweetness breathed, 
That flowers, and trees, and even the silent hills, 
And everything she looked on, should have had 
An intimation how she bore herself 
Towards them, and to all creatures. 1 ' — Prelude, xii. 165. 

In book fourteen of the Prelude (243) the poet 
makes honourable confession to Dorothy : 



" I too exclusively esteemed that love, 
And sought that beauty which as Milton sings 
Hath terror in it. Thou didst soften down 
This over-sternness ; but for thee, dear Friend ! 
My soul, too reckless of mild grace, had stood 
In her original self too confident, 
Retained too long a countenance severe; 
A rock with torrents roaring, with the clouds 
Familiar, and a favourite of the stars : 
But thou didst plant its crevices with flowers, 
Hang it with shrubs that twinkle in the breeze, 
And teach the little birds to build their nests 
And warble in its chambers. 11 

Let us turn to Humanity as seen through 
Dorothy's eyes. 

A little girl comes from Coniston to beg, when 
there is cold in the air although the corn begins to 
show itself. Her stepmother had turned her out of 
doors ; the father could not stay at home, " she flights 
so " (33). We go with Dorothy to a funeral at John 
Dawson's. About ten men and four women. Bread, 
cheese, and ale. They talk sensibly and cheerfully 
about common things. The dead person, fifty-six 
years of age, buried by the parish. The coffin is 
neatly lettered, and painted black, and covered with 
a decent cloth. They set the corpse down at the 
door. While Dorothy and her companions stand 
within the threshold, the men, with their hats off, 
and with decent and solemn countenances, sing a 
verse of a funeral psalm. The corpse is then borne 
down the hill and the singing goes on till Town-End 
is passed. Dorothy is affected to tears while stand- 
ing in the house, the coffin lying before her. No 
kindred, no children. As they get out of the dark 
house, the sun shines, and the prospect looks divinely 



(beautiful — more sacred than ever, and yet more allied 
jto human life. The green fields in the neighbour- 
hood of the churchyard are as green as possible, and 
I with the brightness of the sunshine look quite gay. 
Dorothy reflects — "She is going to a quiet spot," 
and cannot help weeping very much. When they 
reach the bridge (48), singing begins again, and they 
stop during four lines before entering the church- 
yard. [This is just a Norwegian funeral of to-day.] 
On a heavenly morning the Cockermouth traveller 
comes along with thread, hardware, mustard, &c. 
She is very healthy; has travelled over the moun- 
tains these thirty years. She does not mind the 
storms if she can keep her goods dry. Her husband 
will not travel with an ass, because it is the tramper's 
badge ; she would have one to relieve her from the 
weary load. She is going to Ulverston, and is to 
return for Ambleside Fair (52). Next let us hear 
about the wife of a parson who brought up ten 
children upon a curacy, sent two sons to college, 
and left £1000 when he died. The wife was very 
generous, gave food and drink to all poor people. 
She had a passion for feeding animals. She killed 
a pig with feeding it over-much. When it was dead 
she said, "To be sure it's a great loss, but I thank 
God it did not die clemmed" (starved). Her husband 
was very fond of playing backgammon, and used to 
play whenever he could get anybody to play with 
him. She had played much in her youth, and was 
an excellent player ; but her husband knew nothing 
of this, till one day she said to him, " You're fond of 
backgammon ; come play with me ! " He was sur- 
prised. She told him she had kept it to herself while 

257 R 


she had a young family to attend to, but that now 
she would play with him ! So they began to play, 
and played every night (80). We see the single 
old Quakeress, living near Keswick, who goes by 
herself to meeting-house regularly every Sunday, 
and there sits and performs her worship alone, 
in that beautiful place among those fir trees of 
the spacious vale, under the great mountain 
Skiddaw (132). A poor woman comes a-begging, 
whose father lived to the age of 105. She is a 
woman of strong bones, with a complexion that 
has been beautiful, but now she is broken, and 
her little boy— a pretty little fellow— looks thin and 
pale. " Aye," says she, " we have all been ill. Our 
house was nearly unroofed in the storm, and we lived 
in it so for more than a week." The child wears a 
ragged drab coat and a fur cap. He seems scarcely 
grown since William and Dorothy met him in a lane 
going to Skelwith Bridge ; he then looked very 
pretty, walking lazily in the deep, narrow lane 
overshadowed with the hedgerows, his meal poke 
hung over his shoulder. He had said that he " was 
going a-laiting" (begging for food). Poor crea- 
ture! He now wears the same coat he had on 
when he was last met. The woman being gone, 
Dorothy cannot help thinking that we are not 
half thankful enough that we are placed in that 
condition of life in which we are (90). Aggy 
Fisher, called to attend upon Goan's dying infant, 
says, " There are many heavier crosses than the death 
of an infant ; " and proceeds, " There was a woman 
in this vale who buried four grown-up children in one 
year, and I have heard her say, when many years 



! were gone by, that she had more pleasure in thinking 
1 of those four than of her living children, for as children 
get up and have families of their own, their duty to 
their parents wears out and weakens. She could trip 
lightly by the graves of those who died when they 
were young ... as she went to church on a Sunday " 
(127). William on an April Saturday writes the poem 
of The Beggar Woman, taken from a woman whom 
Dorothy had seen two years before at Gallow Hill. 
After tea Dorothy reads out her account of " the 
little boy belonging to the tall woman," and an un- 
lucky thing it is, for William cannot escape from 
these very words, and so is unable to write a poem 
upon the subject to his satisfaction, and goes tired 
to bed ; but next morning (Sunday) he finishes The 
Beggar Boy (99). 

On a February Tuesday, after ironing all day, 
Dorothy records how Mr. Graham was riding in 
a post-chaise and he heard a strange cry that he 
could not understand. The sound continued, and 
he called to the chaise-driver to stop. It was a 
little girl who was crying as if her heart would 
burst. She had got up behind the chaise, and 
her cloak had been caught by the wheel, and was 
jammed in, and it hung there. She was crying 
after it, poor thing. Mr. Graham took her into 
the chaise, and her cloak was released from the 
wheel, but the child's misery did not cease, for her 
cloak was torn to rags ; it had been a miserable 
cloak before, but she had no other, and it was the 
greatest sorrow that could befall her. Her name 
was Alice Fell. She had no parents, and belonged 
to the next town. At that next town, Mr. G. left 



money with some respectable people to buy her a 
new cloak (93). 

The last item in this catalogue of women shall be 
given in full [39 : compare Wordsworth's Beggars] : 

" A very tall woman, tall much beyond the measure of tall 
women, called at the door. She had on a very long brown 
cloak and a very white cap, without bonnet. Her face was ex- 
cessively brown, but it had plainly once been fair. She led a 
little barefooted child about two years old by the hand, and 
said her husband, who was a tinker, was gone before with the 
other children. I gave her a piece of bread. Afterwards on 
my way to Ambleside, beside the Bridge at Rydale, I saw her 
husband sitting by the roadside, his two asses feeding beside 
him, and the two young children at play upon the grass. The 
man did not beg. I passed on and about a quarter of a mile 
further I saw two boys before me, one about ten, the other about 
eight years old, at play chasing a butterfly. They were wild 
figures, not very ragged, but without shoes and stockings. The 
hat of the elder was wreathed round with yellow flowers, the 
younger, whose hat was only a rimless crown, had stuck it round 
with laurel leaves. They continued at play till I drew very 
near, and then they addressed me with the begging cant and 
the whining voice of sorrow. I said * I served your mother 
this morning."' (The boys were so like the woman who had 
called at . . . that I could not be mistaken.) '0!' says the 
elder, ' you could not serve my mother for she's dead, and my 
father's on at the next town — he's a potter.' I persisted in my 
assertion, and that I would give them nothing. Says the elder, 
' Let's away,' and away they flew like lightning. They had, 
however, sauntered so long in their road that they did not reach 
Ambleside before me, and I saw them go up to Matthew Harri- 
son's house with their wallet upon the elder's shoulder, and 
creeping with a beggar's complaining foot. On my return 
through Ambleside I met in the street the mother driving her 
asses, in the two panniers of one of which were the two little 
children, whom she was chiding and threatening with a wand 
which she used to drive on her asses, while the little things 
hung in wantonness over the pannier's edge. The woman had 
told me in the morning that she was of Scotland, which her 
accent fully proved, but that she had lived (I think) at Wigtoun, 
that they could not keep a house and so they travelled." 



Among Dorothy's jottings about men and boys, 
let us note what is said about decaying Statesmen. 
John Fisher talks much about the alteration in the 
times, and observes that within a short period there 
will be only two ranks of people, the very rich and 
the very poor ; " for those who have small estates," 
says he, " are forced to sell, and all the land goes into 
one hand" (33). Peggy Ashburner mourns that 
Thomas has sold his land to a dealer. " I have said 
many a time he's not come fra London to buy our 
land, however." Then she tells with what pains and 
industry they have made up their taxes, interest, &c. 
&c, how they all got up at five o'clock in the morning 
to spin, and Thomas carded, and they had paid off a 
hundred pounds of the interest. She used to take 
much pleasure in the cattle and sheep. " O how 
pleased I used to be when they fetched them down, 
and when I had been a bit poorly I would gang out 
upon a hill and look over t' fields and see them, 
and it used to do me so much good, you cannot 
think " (66). 

There comes along a faint and pale sailor, travel- 
ling from Liverpool to Whitehaven, and he chats by 
the kitchen fire for two hours. His name is Isaac 
Chapel. By trade a sailmaker, and at sea since 
fifteen, he has just come from a voyage to the coast 
of Guinea. He had been on board a slave ship 
where one man had been killed. A boy put to lodge 
with the pigs and was half eaten, afterwards set to 
watch in the hot sun till he dropped down dead. 
Chapel has been away in North America and travelled 
thirty days among the Indians, where he had been 
well treated. He has twice swam from a King's ship 



in the night and escaped. He says he would rather 
be in hell than be pressed (100). 

Next in the kaleidoscope we come to a Highland 
carman with four carts, the first three belonging to 
himself, the last to some potters who had joined 
company with him. As the carman cheers his horses, 
he talks to a little lass of about ten years who seems to 
make him her companion. From the wall she wrests 
a large stone to support the wheel of one of his carts, 
and she runs on before with it in her arms to be 
ready for him (92) : 

" She was a beautiful creature, and there was something 
uncommonly impressive in the lightness and joyousness of her 
manner. Her business seemed to be all pleasure — pleasure in 
her own motions, and the man looked at her as if he too were 
pleased, and spoke to her in the same tone in which he spoke to 
his horses. There was a wildness in her whole figure, not the 
wildness of a Mountain lass, but of the Road lass, a traveller 
from her birth, who has wanted neither food nor clothes. Her 
mother followed the last cart with a lovely child, perhaps about 
a year old, at her back, and a good-looking girl, about fifteen 
years old, walked beside her. All the children were like the 
mother. She had a very fresh complexion, but she was blown 
with fagging up the steep hill, and with what she carried. Her 
husband was helping the horse to drag the cart up by pushing 
it with his shoulder ." 

When we read these descriptions in the full text, 
with all their unexpected freshness, * we understand 
why Crabb Robinson declared that as a diarist 
Dorothy put him to shame. Here is Dorothy's 
jotting from which her brother composed Resolution 
and Independence (50) : 

" When William and I returned from accompanying Jones, 
we met an old man almost double. He had on a coat, thrown 
over his shoulders, above his waistcoat and coat. Under this 
he carried a bundle, and had an apron on and a night-cap. His 



face was interesting. He had dark eyes and a long nose. John, 
who afterwards met him at Wytheburn, took him for a Jew. 
He was of Scotch parents, bat had been born in the army. He 
had had a wife, and ' she was a good woman, and it pleased God 
to bless us with ten children.' All these were dead but one, 
of whom he had not heard for many years, a sailor. His trade 
was to gather leeches, but now leeches were scarce, and he had 
not strength for it. He lived by begging, and was making his 
way to Carlisle, where he should buy a few godly books to sell. 
He said leeches were very scarce, partly owing to this dry season, 
but many years they have been scarce. He supposed it owing 
to their being much sought after, that they did not breed fast, 
and were of slow growth. Leeches were formerly 2s 6d per 100 ; 
they are now 30s. He had been hurt in driving a cart, his leg 
broken, his body driven over, his skull fractured. He felt no 
pain till he recovered from his first insensibility. It was then 
late in the evening, when the light was just going away. 1 ' 

It is in depicting landscape — but this generally 
with short-sighted range of vision — that Dorothy's 
powers show even more brightly than in her notes 
about human beings. It is perhaps odd that neither 
William nor Dorothy has left us a good snowstorm, 
though William etched the sequel to such a storm 
in three lines : 

" High ridged, the whirled drift has almost reached 
The powdered keystone of the churchyard post ; 
Mute hangs the hooded bell ; the tombs lie buried." 

This is Dorothy's presentation of snow (70) : 

"All looked cheerful and bright. Helm Crag rose very 
bold and craggy, a Being by itself, and behind it was the large 
ridge of mountain, smooth as marble and snow-white. All the 
mountains looked like solid stone, on our left, going from 
Grasmere, i.e. White Moss and Nab Scar. The snow hid all 
the grass and all signs of vegetation, and the rocks showed 
themselves boldly everywhere, and seemed more stony than rock 
or stone. The birches on the crags beautiful, red, brown and 
glittering. The ashes, glittering spears with their upright 
stems. The hips very beautiful, and so good ! ! and, dear 



Coleridge ! I ate twenty for thee, when I was by myself. I came 
home first. They walked too slow for me. Wm. went to look 
at Langdale Pikes. We had a sweet, invigorating walk. Mr. 
Clarkson came in before tea. We played at cards. Sate up 
late. The moon shone upon the waters below Silver How, and 
above it hung, combining with Silver How on one side, a bowl- 
shaped moon, the curve downwards ; the white fields, glittering 
roof of Thomas Ashburner's house, the dark yew tree, the white 
fields gay and beautiful. Wm. lay with his curtains open that 
he might see it." 

On a lovely moonlight night Dorothy and her 
two brothers talk about a house on Helvellyn. The 
moonlight shines only upon the village ; it does not 
eclipse the village candles, and the sound of dancing 
and merriment comes along the still air. Dorothy 
and William and Coleridge walk up the lane and by 
the church ; and Dorothy lingers with Coleridge in 
the garden, when John and William are both gone to 
bed, and all the lights are out (48). John Greens 
house looks pretty under Silver How. As William 
and Dorothy move along, they are stopped at once, 
fifty yards from their favourite birch tree. It is 
yielding to the gusty wind with all its tender twigs. 
The sun shines upon it, and it glances in the wind 
like a flying sunshiny shower. It was a tree in shape, 
with stem and branches, but it is now like a spirit 
of water. The sun goes in, and the tree resumes its 
purplish appearance, twigs yielding to the wind, but 
not so visibly. The other birch trees near it look 
bright and cheerful, but it is a creature by its own 
self among them. . . . The weather clears. There is a 
rainbow which spans the lake from the island-house 
to the foot of Bainriggs. The village looks populous 
and beautiful. Catkins are coming out, palm trees 
budding ; the alder, with its plum-coloured buds (65). 



A . 



In December Dorothy and Mary Hutchinson 
walk about in the green lane (69) behind the tailors 
at Grasmere : 

"The river came galloping past the church, as fast as it 
could come ; and when we got into Easedale we saw Churn Milk 
Force, like a broad stream of snow at the little footbridge. 
We stopped to look at the company of rivers, which came 
hurrying down the vale, this way and that: a valley of streams 
and islands, with that great waterfall at the head, and lesser 
falls in different parts of the mountains, coming down to these 
rivers. We could hear the sound of the lesser falls, but could not 
see them. We walked backwards and forwards till all distant 
objects, except the white shape of the waterfall and the lines of 
the mountains, were gone. We had the crescent moon when we 
went out, and at our return there were a few stars that shone 
dimly, but it was a grey, cloudy night." 

Dorothy's colour-sense on an August evening bids 
her remark on a curious yellow reflection on the water 
as of cornfields : no light in the clouds from which it 
appeared to come (46). 

In October at Bainriggs (53) the oaks are noted as 

" dark green with yellow leaves, the birches generally still green, 
some near the water yellowish, the sycamore crimson and 
crimson-tufted, the mountain ash a deep orange, the common 
ash lemon-colour, but many ashes still fresh in their peculiar 
green, those that were discoloured chiefly near the water." 

On another October night the moon shines like 
herrings in the water (56). Four nights after this, in 
a tremendous wind, the snow blows from Helvellyn 
horizontally like white smoke (56). On a day after 
Christmas, Grasmere Lake is a beautiful image of 
stillness, clear as glass, reflecting all things ; the wind 
is up, and the waters are sounding (74) : 

" The lake of a rich purple, the fields a soft yellow, the island 
yellowish-green, the copses red-brown, the mountains purple, 
the church and buildings, how quiet they were ! " 



In the beginning of Easter, Dorothy watches a 
robin chasing a scarlet butterfly — hint enough for 
William's poem The Robin and the Butterfly (109). 

Rydal Mere is often the subject of description. 
Dorothy sits a long time one night to watch the 
hurrying waves, and to hear the regularly irregular 
sounds of the dashing waters. The waves round 
about the little island seem like a dance of spirits 
that have risen out of the water. In her walk, Dorothy 
receives Mrs. Nicholson's offer of company. This is 
very kind, but, God be thanked, Dorothy wants not 
society by a moonlit lake (36). 

On a November night the church seems an image 
of peace, and William writes about it for the Excur- 
sion. Dorothy and Mary walk as far as the Wishing 
Gate, and stand there a long time. The mountains 
indistinct, the lake calm and partly ruffled. A sweet 
sound of water falling into the quiet lake. A storm 
is gathering in Easedale, yet the moon comes out, 
opening to them the church and village. Helm Crag 
in shade, the larger mountains dappled like a sky. 
The women stand long upon the bridge and wish for 
William (64). 

In the next month, sitting in John's Grove, 
brother and sister watch the fading landscape. The 
lake seems brighter than when it is perfect day, and 
the island pushes itself upwards, distinct and large. 
All the shores marked. There is a sweet, sea-like 
sound in the trees over the observers' heads (94). 

Again (102) : 

" As I climbed White Moss, the moon came out from 
behind a mountain mass of black clouds. O, the unutterable 
darkness of the sky, and the earth below the moon, and the 




glorious brightness of the moon itself ! There was a vivid spark- 
ling streak of light at this end of Rydale water, but the rest was 
verv dark, and Loughrigg Fell and Silver How were white and 
bright, as if they were covered with hoar frost. The moon 
retired again, and appeared and disappeared several times before 
I reached home. Once there was no moonlight to be seen but 
upon the island-house and the promontory of the island where 
it stands. < That needs must be a holy place,' &c. &c. I 
had many very exquisite feelings, and when I saw this lowly 
Building 'in the waters, among the dark and lofty hills, with 
that bright, soft light upon it, it made me more than half a 
poet. I was tired on reaching home, and could not sit down 
to reading. I tried to write verses, but alas ! I gave up, expect- 
ing William, and went soon to bed." 

As for the narrower things of home — Dorothy 
seems to have been as cheerful over the domesticities 
as over the lilies of the field. These things had to be 
done ; and it is true (one ventures to state) that in the 
whole of Dorothy's Grasmere Diary there is not a 
murmur about the housework. She is delighted to 
paper William's room (44). She often mentions the 
day's ironing ; spreads out the washed linen in the 
morning (45) ; sits on the wall making shifts until she 
can see no longer (45) ; cooks a chop for Coleridge 
(48) ; breaks away from the prospect from the orchard 
seat (most divinely beautiful ; all colours melting 
into each other) to put the bread in the oven (54). 
She is fond of cards (56, 57), and very fond of ballads 
(27, 35, 36). Dorothy bought her ballad-book (Percy's 
Reliques) at Hamburg. Sometimes the cooking is 
suspended without any disturbance of the general 
temper. On an October Monday night, after working 
at the Sheepfold, and after a walk with the Lloyds, 
during which they stop to watch six glow-worms, 
brother and sister come home to find the fire out. 



They just eat a kind of supper in the dark, and go to 
bed immediately (55). A sweet, lengthy letter arrives 
from Sarah Hutchinson, containing an interesting 
account of Patrick the pedlar. William and Dorothy, 
after reading that letter, cook no dinner, but sit a long 
time by the fire. They are occupied with food for 
thought ; this letter of Sarah's is to be worked up 
for many a page of the Excursion (82). William, 
Mary, and Dorothy, on the 28th of December, set off 
on foot for Keswick with cold mutton in their pockets 
— but one of them also carrying Spenser's Faerie 
Queene. They lunch at a farm upon roasted apples 
(74). [Aye, this is Windy Brow over again. The 
true riches of Life are dirt-cheap.] 

On an October evening, at ButterlipHow, Dorothy 
and her brother have a pleasant conversation about the 
manners of the rich, avarice, inordinate desires, and 
the effeminacy, unnaturalness, and unworthy objects 
of education. Meanwhile the moonlight is spreading 
upon the hills like snow (50). The old " Domestic " 
sometimes appears on the scene, exulting in her 
own importance : " Aye, Mistress, them 'at 's low 
laid would have been proud creatures, could they 
but have seen where I is now, fra what they thought 
wud be my doom " (97). 

Tradition tells that when Sir Walter Scott and the 
Ettrick Shepherd visited the Wordsworths, they had 
to seek at the neighbouring inns refreshments to the 
need of which the poet and his sister seemed oblivious. 
Yet in the Grasmere Diary alcohol is not absurdly 
absent. One day, on a long field journey, Dorothy 
partakes of a little brandy, and feels in Heaven 
(117). It is something of a shock to find that after 





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William and Dorothy have enjoyed their famous vision 
of the daffodils at Gowbarrow Park, they sit down 
to an old volume of Congreve's Plays and comfort 
themselves with a glass of warm rum and water (107). 
I Dorothy reasonably deplores the expense of receiving 
letters. Between the 1st of December and the 27th 
of the following January she had paid out £1, lis. 3d. 
for letters (83). The carriage of books must also have 
been a costly affair. Such a box of books arrives on 
February 1st : from it Dorothy draws The Pleasures 
of Hope. She reads from this to William by his 
bedside. He cannot fall asleep. The next day, after 
tea, Dorothy reads out the eleventh book of Paradise 
Lost. They are much impressed, and even melted 
into tears. Soon after Dorothy has laid aside the 
book the newspapers come in, which is a good thing 
for her William (86). 

We must not pause long on the presence of Cole- 
ridge in Lakeland at this time. His mind is unpro- 
ductive. The serenity of Dove Cottage is in marked 
contrast to the atmosphere of the Coleridge home 
at Keswick. Mrs. Coleridge is jealous of Dorothy. 
Her range of thought is indicated by ejaculations 
such as " The cow is about to calve " ; " The cow 
does not eat " ; " The cow must be ill" ; " We shall 
lose the cow " ; " Southey earns such and such, and 
my husband, with his superior talents, never bestirs 
himself," kc. (Brandl's Life of Coleridge). 

Infinitely touching, the coming and going — the 
moth-like night-fluttering of Coleridge over the 
mountains between Keswick and Grasmere. Com- 
parison may be made between Wordsworth's Ode 
on Intimations of Immortality and Coleridge's Ode 



to Dejection (stanza 6) — " There was a time." Th< 
eighth stanza of Dejection was in its earlier fori 
addressed to Wordsworth. It is desolating to think oi 
Coleridge upon these mountains in the dark nights, 
eating out his heart and surrounded by such " vipei 
thoughts" as he refers to in the seventh stanza- 
into which, however, the whistling wind unexpectedl; 
brings the name and story of Lucy Gray : 

" A tale of less affright 
And tempered with delight, 
As Otway's self had framed the tender lay ; 
'Tis of a little child 
Upon a lonesome wild, 
Not far from home, but she had lost her way, 
And now moans low in bitter grief and fear, 
And now screams loud, and hopes to make her 
mother hear." 

Strength of frail womanhood I Dorothy has t< 
" give out " from her very life-blood not only t( 
William, but to the other clinging brother, Samuel 
Taylor Coleridge ! The postman from Ambleside — 
that steady, unmurmuring cripple, mechanised to his 
labour — hands Dorothy a letter on the road. It is 
from Coleridge. Dorothy unseals it, and has just 
light enough to decipher whether he is ill. She puts 
the letter in her pocket. At the top of White Moss 
she takes it to her bosom — a safer place for it. The 
night is wild, with a strange mountain lightness as 
she passes John's Grove. The wind roars right out 
of the Grove, all the trees tossing about. William 
is ill, and goes to bed after he and Dorothy have 
written a joint letter to Coleridge. William has left 
Dorothy with a little peat fire. It grows less. She 
goes to bed, and cannot sleep from sheer cold. [One 



fears there is something, throughout this entry, of a 
frost in the heart. The passage, after a forced refer- 
ence to pies and bread, and then a return to Coleridge, 
ends thus — ] " JV.B. The moon came out suddenly 
when we were at John's Grove, and a star or two 
besides" (87). Another letter from Coleridge — a 
sad, melancholy letter — arrives when Mary is in the 
cottage; it prevents them all from sleeping (68). 
Coleridge, oh, how many reasons Dorothy has to be 
anxious about this friend (she says) ! Every sight 
and every sound reminds her of him — dear, dear 
fellow, of his many talks by day and night, of all 
dear things ! Dorothy is melancholy and unfit for 
conversation, and at last eases her heart by weeping 
— nervous blubbering, says William (64). On a 
May evening William and Dorothy are sitting at 
the table, writing, when they are roused by Cole- 
ridge's voice below. He has walked ; looks paleish, 
but is not much tired. They all sit together till one 
o'clock ; William goes to bed, and the others talk on 
till a quarter-past two o'clock (120). 

It would only be painful to the world if the wives 
and sisters and secretaries of men of genius were to 
make a practice of diarising about the creative moods 
of these great men. To God should be left ecstasies 
and agonies with which the world is meant to be 
comforted as song. Dorothy, writing because she 
cannot help it, and truly for no eyes but those of her 
nearest kin, reveals to us poetry-in-the-making as no 
other person has revealed it. In some of her pages 
we see how she and her brother find the very materials 
of poetry. Other pages picture to us the poet pos- 
sessed by his subjects. Let us be grateful, for once, 



to watch this process — and grateful that it is gracious, 
loving Dorothy who lifts the veil. 

On a November Wednesday, William and Dorothy 
and Sarah (for thus is that lady's baptismal name offici- 
ally recorded, though Dorothy prefers " Sara") walk up 
sunny, snowy Easedale. A letter comes from Mary. 
The Lloyds arrive for tea. The three hosts accompany 
the Lloyds to Ambleside. Sarah and Dorothy walk 
home in a beautiful moonlight night. Whither has 
the poet disappeared ? We are not told. The jotting 
ends by remarking that William is very well, and 
highly poetical (58). Two pages further we find that 
Dorothy and Sarah walk as far as Thirlmere with 
Coleridge, who is on his way to Keswick. Returning 
home, they find that William is not well, because he 
has been labouring unsuccessfully (60). On Sunday 
evening, November 22nd, Dorothy notices the moon 
and the moonlight seen through hurrying driving 
clouds immediately behind the Stone-Man upon the 
top of the hill. Every tooth and every edge of rock 
is visible, and the Man stands like a giant watching 
from the roof of a lofty castle. The hill seems 
perpendicular from the darkness below it (66). Two 
days before Christmas, while Mary is writing out 
the Tales from Chaucer for Coleridge, William is 
working at The Ruined Cottage, and makes himself 
very ill (73). Exactly a month after this, William 
and Dorothy come struggling through the wind 
from Eusemere. Often they have to rest by the way. 
A hail-shower meets them before they reach the 
tarn, and the way is difficult over the snow ; but at 
the tarn the view closes in. Nothing but mists and 
snow. At first the ice on the tarn below them 




cracks and splits, yet without water, a dull grey 
white. They lose their path and can see the tarn 
no longer. They make their way out with diffi- 
culty, guided by a heap of stones which they well 
remember. They are afraid of being bewildered m 
the mists till the darkness overtakes them. They are 
puzzled to learn if they are in the right track, but 
thanks to William's skill, they know it long before 
they can see their way before them. There is no 
footmark upon the snow, either of man or of beast. 
Four sheep are noticed before the snow region is left. 
When the mists break away, the vale of Grasmere 
looks soft and grave, of a yellow hue. It is dark 
before the travellers reach home. When they have 
got off their wet clothes, they sit by the fire, read 
a description of the Lake of Como, talk about it, 
look about them, and feel that they are happy (81). 

No letter from Coleridge. Dorothy writes to 
him. Brother and sister (83) sit by the fire and are 
happy, only their tender thoughts become painful. 
[Compare Lines written in Early Spring— 

" In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts 
Bring sad thoughts to the mind."] 

Two days afterwards, William is very unwell, 
worn out with his bad night's rest. Dorothy reads 
to him, endeavouring to make him sleep. Then she 
goes into the other room to compose herself with 
the first book of Paradise Lost. A few hours later 
comes a heartrending letter from Coleridge, and they 
are sad as they could be (83). Next day William 
chops wood and Dorothy carries it to the house in 
a basket. William asks Dorothy to set down the 

273 s 


story of Barbara Wilkinson's Turtle-Dove. Barbara 
is an old maid. She had two turtle-doves. One of 
them died the first year. The other continued to 
live alone in its cage for nine years, but for one whole 
year it had a companion and daily visitor — a little 
mouse that used to come and feed with it ; and the 
dove would carry it and cover it over with its wings, 
and make a loving noise to it. The mouse, though 
it did not testify equal delight in the dove's company, 
was yet at perfect ease. The poor mouse disappeared, 
and the dove was left solitary till its death. It died 
of a short sickness, and was buried under a tree with 
funeral ceremony by Barbara and her maidens, and 
one or two others (84). After the chopping of wood, 
William works at The Pedlar all morning. He keeps 
the dinner waiting till four o'clock. He is much 
tired. The next day he is still tired, having slept ill, 
and he walks round the two lakes with Dorothy. 
They sit by the wayside at the foot of Grasmere 
Lake, close to Mary's dear name, which she had her- 
self cut upon the stone. William cuts at it with his 
knife to make it plainer (84). On page 86 we find 
William restless over his Pedlar, and three separate 
times in one day Dorothy reads to soothe him. 
Within a day or two, William, thinking he has done 
with The Pedlar, finds fault with one part of it, after 
all. It is uninteresting, and must be altered. " Poor 
William ! " (87). On February 14th William hands 
Dorothy alterations to carry out in The Pedlar, and 
is tempted by the fine day to set off and see Mary 
at Penrith. So away he goes in his blue spencer and 
a pair of new pantaloons fresh from London (91). 
Dorothy spends a whole day ironing (16th February). 



William comes back just at tea-time. He had only 
seen Mary H. for a couple of hours between Eamont 
Bridge and Hartshorn Tree. [Note that William 
always seems to dislike entering Penrith] (93). The 
robins are busy. Now for a walk ; Dorothy will be 
busy. She will look well and be well, when William 
comes back from Calvert's. O the Darling ! Here 
is one of his bitter apples. Dorothy can hardly find 
it in her heart to throw it in the fire. . . . She walks 
round the two lakes ; sits down where they always 
sit. Full of thoughts of her darling. Blessings on 
him ! (97). William goes up into the orchard and 
finishes The Emigrant Mother. Dorothy walks back- 
ward and forward with the poet till dinner-time. He 
reads her his poem. She later reads to him, till the 
Beloved sleeps (101). William repeats part of his 
new poem, The Cuckoo. In twenty minutes he has 
come in rather tired with attempting to write. He 
is now reading Ben Jonson. Dorothy is going to 
read German. It is about ten o'clock, a quiet night. 
The fire flickers, and the watch ticks. Dorothy hears 
nothing save the breathing of the Beloved as he now 
and then pushes his book forward, and turns over a 
leaf (103). Dorothy walks from Eusemere to Yan- 
wath for letters, and receives one from William and 
Mary. A sharp, windy night. Thomas Wilkinson 
comes back with Dorothy as far as Barton, question- 
ing. Every question [about Mary ?] is like the 
snapping of a little thread about her heart. Full of 
thought about her half-read letter and other things 
Dorothy is glad when Wilkinson leaves her. She 
has time to look at the moon while thinking her own 
thoughts. At this moment [so it will be found, next 



day] William is riding by himself, between Middle- 
ham and Barnard Castle (105). [12th April, 1802 ; 
William has been away to visit Mary : his marriage 
will come off in October.] On an April Thursday, 
brother and sister visit John's Grove. After sitting 
awhile they lie in the trench under the fence — 
William with his eyes shut, and listening to the 
waterfalls and the birds. There is no waterfall above 
another — it is a sound of waters in the air — the voice 
of the air. William hears his sister breathing, and 
rustling now and then, but both lie still, and unseen 
by one another. He thinks that it would be sweet 
thus to lie in the grave, to hear the peaceful sounds 
of the earth, and just to know that dear friends were 
near. The lake is still ; there is no boat out. Silver 
How is reflected with delicate purple and yellowish 
hues like those of spar; lambs on the island, and 
running races together by the half-dozen, in the round 
field near. The copses greenish, hawthorns green, . . . 
cottages smoking. As Dorothy lay down on the 
grass, she observed the glittering silver line on the 
ridge of the backs of the sheep, owing to their situa- 
tion respecting the sun, which made them look 
beautiful, but with something of strangeness, like 
animals of another kind, as if belonging to a more 
splendid world (114). William has slept uncommonly 
well, so feeling himself strong, falls to work at The 
Leech Gatherer: writes hard at it till dinner-time, 
then gives over, tired to death — he has finished the 
poem (119). But the poem is not really finished. 
William works at it two days afterwards almost in- 
cessantly from morning till tea-time. Dorothy is 
oppressed and sick at heart, for he wearies himself to 



death. After tea he writes two stanzas in the manner 
of Thomson's Castle of Indolence and is tired out. 
The day before, in the orchard, while reading Henry 
V. with Dorothy, he lay back on his seat and wept 
(119). In Brothers' Wood the pair walk up and 
down, William tiring himself in seeking an epithet 
for the cuckoo (121). On May 21st William writes 
two sonnets on Buonaparte, after his sister has read 
Milton's sonnets to him (123). After tea (June 20th) 
brother and sister walk in their own path for a long 
time, and talk sweetly together about the disposal of 
their riches. [Lord Lonsdale has paid a long-standing 
debt to the family incurred by his predecessor. It 
is this altered state of circumstances that allows the 
poet to think of marriage as near.] After this talk 
William and Dorothy lie on the sloping turf. Earth 
and sky are so lovely that they melt the heart of 
both (133). On Monday, October 1802 [the very 
day on which Coleridge causes his Ode to Dejection 
toappear in the Morning Post], William is married 
to Mary Hutchinson at Gallow Hill. Dorothy had 
slept a good deal of the night, and rose fresh and 
well. At a little after eight o'clock, she saw them 
go down the avenue towards the church. William 
had parted with her upstairs. While they were 
absent, dear little Sarah had prepared the breakfast. 
Dorothy keeps herself as quiet as she can, but when 
she sees two men running up the walk, coming to 
tell that all is over, she can stand it no longer, and 
throws herself on the bed, where she lies in stillness, 
neither hearing nor seeing anything till Sarah arrives 
upstairs and says, " They are coming." This forces 
Dorothy from the bed and she moves faster than her 



strength can carry her till she falls on the bosom of 
her beloved William. ... It rains when William 
and Mary and Dorothy set off. Poor Mary is much 
agitated to part from her brothers and sisters and her 
home. Nothing particular occurs till they reach 
Kirby. . . . They go to the churchyard, saunter 
about, and read the gravestones (148). At six 
o'clock on the evening of Wednesday, October 6th, 
William, Mary, and Dorothy arrive at Dove Cottage. 
They go by candle-light into the garden (154), and 
are astonished at the growth of the brooms and the 
Portugal laurels. 




Among celebrated diaries, Dorothy's Journal is 
unrivalled for sincerity. Now, in these Grasmere 
pages we are far from finding that the Lakeland folk 
have captured or recaptured the affections of the poet 
and his sister. Dorothy's entries seldom mention the 
Dalesfolk. Oftener they are occupied with casual 
wayfarers, to whom the curiosity of brother and 
sister goes out as if they were enduring a quiet re- 
pellance from the minds of their neighbours. The 
Prelude (xiii. 157) says : 

66 The lonely roads 
Were open schools in which I daily read 
With most delight the passions of mankind." 

Local feelings rank among the strongest prejudices, 
however disguised, of communities divided one from 
another by hills. If the Langdale people of a Sunday 
walked down to Grasmere Church, round which their 
dead lay buried, Langdale had to be content with 
entering by the little west door; the big door was 
for Grasmere. Grasmere held Keswick in contempt. 
" Nowt good comes ower t' Gap " (Dunmail Raise). 
It cannot be thought that William and Dorothy 
Wordsworth quite despised the people of Westmor- 
land ; but put it the other way — Grasmere was un- 
willing, perhaps, to be taught or inspected by Cocker- 
mouth. From these pages we do not gather that 



William, or even Dorothy, entered intimately into 
the joys and sorrows, the simple feasts and marriages 
and fairs of the valley. On the one hand, their con- 
scious occupation with the high and enduring things 
perhaps left little room in the minds of brother and 
sister for any deep curiosity about surrounding fellow- 
beings. On the other hand, the reticence of the 
Dalesfolk, which lies almost as suspiciousness beneath 
the accompanying courtesy, must have been reinforced 
by the apparent aimlessness, the gipsy-like conduct, 
and the want of external religiosity in these young 
strangers, brought thither by no ties of friendship, 
and visited by no relatives. 

Mayhap the enjoyment of simplicity too much 
predisposed the Wordsworths to hold that happiness 
lies most with the simply-housed and poor. Often 
a tramp, sometimes a cottager, very occasionally a 
yeoman like Wilkinson : these are the human figures 
in the Diary. One single entry startles us into remem- 
brance of a more moneyed world, which pride in these 
days caused the Wordsworths to avoid : " A coroneted 
landau went by when we were sitting upon the sodded 
wall." In their own persons these happy recluses 
vindicated plain living and high thinking ; yet most of 
us acknowledge that many a man has exhibited amid 
the subdued hum of universities, or amid the hurries 
of parliamentary life, or even amid the graces of a 
court, the truth enunciated by that Wordsworthian 
backwoodsman, Thoreau : "lam often reminded that 
although I had the wealth of Croesus, my wants 
would be the same, and my means would remain the 
same." There is no blessing on the poor except to 
such of them as preserve the grace of being poor in 



spirit — a grace not seldom exemplified by men and 
women who do not feel themselves shut up to live in 
cottages, or even to spend their lives in remote valleys. 

But it was given to the Wordsworths to be 
doubly " poor in spirit " ; they were content to be 
humble as the poorest in the service of humanity, 
and in that service they were also well content with 
the loneliness in which the unthinking portion of 
the world is only too ready to leave those who endure 

Brother John Wordsworth chose himself a glade in 
the wood near Wishing Gate, and there he paced up 
and down with quarter-deck step, perhaps ruminating 
his sea- world all the time — until he wore for himself 
a path, reverenced by his great relatives after he was 
drowned in the Channel. William Wordsworth, 
walking up and down the Grasmere valley, is just as 
lonely as John was. He is at sea also. His mind is 
like his ship of the sonnet — 

" Neither friend nor foe 
She cares for ; let her travel where she may 
She finds familiar names, a beaten way 
Ever before her, and a wind to blow." 

This is not hinting that the poet was devoid of heart- 
beat under his admittedly cold manner. Crabb Robin- 
son writes, " When we were on that noble spot, the 
Amphitheatre at Nismes, I observed his eyes fixed in 
a direction where there was the least to be seen ; and 
walking that way, I beheld two very young children 
at play with flowers, and overheard him say to.himself, 
' Oh ! you darlings, I wish I could put you in my 
pocket and carry you to Rydal Mount.' " Also we 
know Wordsworth's letter to Sir George Beaumont 



in which he says, " For my part, strip my neighbour- 
hood of human beings, and I should think it one of 
the greatest privations I could undergo. You have 
all the poverty of solitude — nothing of its elevation." 
Yet is not this just the artist writing to an artist, 
rather than the poet confessing his soul, as in our 
quotation on page 225 of this work he appears ? 

At all times Wordsworth was pleased enough 
to be left with himself. His native Cumberland 
holds this maxim in regard to newcomers settling in 
a district : " Summer thim, and winter thim, and 
summer thim agen." He would not have been 
unpleased to meet this test, with that dignity which, 
the Excursion tells us, is bestowed upon a man's life 
by " an introverted spirit." 

Wordsworth arrived at Grasmere with his collec- 
tion of ideas about man tolerably complete, though 
some of them were not very old. The Dalesfolk, so 
far as they were useful in illustrating these ideas, 
were welcomed to his mind ; otherwise they were un- 
important. We cannot perceive that from any indi- 
vidual inhabitant of the Dales or from their whole 
corporate wisdom, Wordsworth has rescued for us 
one new impulse. Michael and other such characters 
belong as much to Somerset or Normandy as to 
Westmorland. In fact, as regards Michael, the poet's 
own hand intimates to Thomas Poole of Somerset, 
" in writing it I had your character often before my 
eyes." "Margaret" also hails from Dorset or Somer- 
set. We conclude that the high-mindedness of 
William and Dorothy Wordsworth never cared to 
draw from the people around them the coarser 
commonplaces of thought and action which form 



the staple of their vernacular poetry. William and 
Dorothy naturally evoked the best — and thought 
still better of it, for that was their occupation. The 
process already named as " enveloping " may be 
traced in three ascending stages. Take first the 
people, their thoughts and pleasures and habits, as 
set forth in Chapter XV. of this book, a chapter 
largely compiled from many works written by natives 
of the two counties. This is part of the truth, but 
no doubt with some fine latent qualities undivined. 
Then ascend to the unsuperstitious, broad-minded, 
and comparatively cosmopolitan common people, as 
you find them in the Journal. Here you see the 
divining, admixed doubtless with a little of the 
enveloping. From these, in turn, ascend to the 
Dalesmen ideally compounded and " treated " in the 
poems of Wordsworth. Here is clearly the envelop- 
ing. It was to reach this point of view that pains 
were taken to accumulate the material for Chapter 
XV., the length of which, except for some such object, 
would have been unjustifiable. It is Bonamy Price 
who reads Michael every year, not the Dalesman. 
The Dalesman will believe what he hears when you 
tell him in Wordsworth's plain prose that this poem 
is " an attempt to picture a man of strong mind and 
lively sensibility, agitated ... by parental affection 
and the love of landed property." If, after the 
manner of a Burns, Wordsworth had in Michael 
started a man from the soil who was at once recog- 
nisable by Dalesmen as a particular neighbour — 
really one of themselves — and then they had been 
led to see that this particular type happened to illus- 
trate the Universal, well and good. A series of 



such presentments would have endeared Wordsworth 
to the Dalesmen. But the method of Wordsworth 
is the reverse of Burns' s. He finds a universal 
principle to illustrate, and next manipulates local 
experience with abstract skill until a concrete picture 
of humanity is produced, marvellously accordant with 
the deep harmonies of life, but not a person on whom 
Dalesfolk could " put a name." Both in his handling 
of scenery and in his handling of humanity — from 
the days of Matthew onwards — our poet claimed the 
right to alter and " compose " for his own effects. 
And this is surely why, while he edifies the broad 
world, Lakeland itself, so far as the majority of its 
denizens are concerned, still suffers his spirit in these 
vales to wander lonely as a cloud. These people look 
into this poetry for their " likes " and are disquieted 
by symbols. It is being put off with ghosts. 

During the three years of life at Grasmere, practi- 
cally covered by Dorothy's Journal, Wordsworth 
wrote seventy-two poems. Of these, only eight make 
any show of being studies of people met in the vale. 
They are The Brothers, Michael, The Idle Shepherd 
Boys, The Pet Lamb, The Sailors Mother, Beggars, 
Alice Fell, Resolution and Independence. The first 
of these seems to be a recollection of a story told 
to the poet in Cumberland about the Pillar Rock. 
The second (see page 282) is composite, not veritably 
delineating any person of the neighbourhood. The 
third poem is of slight merit, and its boys have no 
recognisable individuality. The fourth was com- 
posite. " Barbara Lewthwaite was not in fact the 
child whom I had seen and overheard as described 
in this poem." The fifth and sixth poems deal with 



passing mendicants. The subject of the seventh 
("Alice Fell") did not belong to the district, and 
Wordsworth had never seen her. The subject of 
the eighth was an old vagrant to whom Wordsworth 
"gave powers of mind which the original did not 
possess " : and the background of scenery is com- 
pounded from no less than four places, a pool near 
Dove Cottage, the ridge of Moor Divock, Ullswater 
Fells near Askham, and White Moss Common. 
That is all there is to show of Wordsworth's 
interest in his neighbours, while Dorothy was writing 
her Journal. 

Turning to external Nature, we inquire, had 
Nature, then — external Nature — any special revela- 
tion for Wordsworth awaiting him in the Lakeland 
round Grasmere ? The answer is rather No than Yes. 
Wordsworth had written both exquisite poems of 
human endurance (like The Old Cumberland Beggar) 
and some of his deepest Nature-poems (like Tint em 
Abbey) before he entered into possession of Lake- 
land at Grasmere. Dorothy's nature-perceptions 
were as keen at Alfoxden as they were at Grasmere. 
Look, for instance, at this jotting from the Alfoxden 
Diary : 

" We rose early. A thick fog obscured the distant prospect 
entirely, but the shapes of the nearer trees and the dome of the 
wood dimly seen and dilated. It cleared away between ten and 
eleven. The shapes of the mist, slowly moving along, exquisitely 
beautiful ; passing over the sheep they almost seemed to have 
more of life than those quiet creatures. The unseen birds sing- 
ing in the mist." 

Wordsworth and his sister came into Lakeland, 
ready, long-schooled, finished in their schooling. 



" Yet were I grossly destitute of all 
Those human sentiments that make this earth 
So dear, if I should fail with grateful voice 
To speak of you, ye mountains, and ye lakes 
And sounding cataracts, ye mists and winds 
That dwell among the hills where I was born. 
If in my youth I have been pure in heart, 
If, mingling with the world, I am content 
With my own modest pleasures, and have lived 
With God and Nature communing, removed 
From little enmities and low desires, 
The gift is yours ; 

the gift is yours, 
Ye winds and sounding cataracts ! "'tis yours, 
Ye mountains ! thine, O Nature ! Thou hast fed 
My lofty speculations ; and in thee, 
For this uneasy heart of ours, I find 
A never- failing principle of joy 
And purest passion." 

— Prelude, ii. 421. 

The thoughts of the boy on Penrith Beacon come 
to us again : " The days gone by return upon me 
almost from life's dawn, and I see the hiding place 
of man's power open." Lakeland was a God's Gift 
to the brother and sister in being an assemblage of 
quiet valleys filled with all such beauties as their 
minds had been trained to note. Forms like these 
had been intuitively conned, subconsciously assimi- 
lated, at Cockermouth, by both. Wordsworth, 
through his larger experiences, his travels among 
the passions of men, is able to moralise humanity 
as Dorothy never does, and draws deductions from 
the manifestations of external Nature as Dorothy 
never does. Dorothy remains unchanged, with no 
wish to change, the child of Cockermouth, taught 
by Derwent and Skiddaw to love colour and sound 



and harmonies of motion. Back to Derwent and 
Skiddaw we must go for the deeper influences of 
master-passion which thrill through Wordsworth's 
finest poetry. See the Prelude (viii. 100, 300, and 
252) for the metal of Michael at white heat from 
recollection of boyhood. Compare the careful, frigid 
descriptive work in which the poet, no longer dis- 
tinctly recollective, contemplates the Dalesfolk from 
Helvellyn, in the opening of the same book. 

Therefore there never could have been, and never 
was, a " Lake School of Poetry." If ever there was 
any congress of more than two poetic minds that 
might be thus called, it must be defined by an Irish- 
ism ; it existed only in the years 1798, 1799, at 
Alfoxden in Somersetshire, where there are no lakes. 
The school of Lakeland thought, as that thought was 
developed at Grasmere, consisted of two pupils, 
Dorothy Wordsworth and William Wordsworth, 
and their teacher had been the river Derwent. 

" Starting from this point, 
I had my face turned toward the truth, began 
With an advantage furnished by that kind 
Of prepossession, without which the soul 
Receives no knowledge that can bring forth good, 
No genuine insight ever comes to her. 1 '' 

— Prelude, viii. 322. 

It can surely never happen again that a poet will 
discover for himself a virgin region of beauty like this 
Lakeland. Yet while Wordsworth is ready to stoop 
with Dorothy and read, in the meanest Lakeland 
flower that blows, thoughts that do often lie too deep 
for tears, Heaven gave the poet also power to rise in 
worship to that Whole of Beauty upon whose ear 
Lakeland is but a little jewel. It is begging the 



question to affirm, as it sometimes is affirmed, that 
Wordsworth was a poet only for a small tract and 
a temperate clime. At Cockermouth he was endowed 
with an extra sense of Nature that would have estab- 
lished amazing correspondences between his mind 
and the " banks of the Susquehanna," or any region 
more tropical than that cool stream, if he had arrived 
there with Coleridge and Southey and the other 





The mountain echoes of Lakeland framed their songs 
and catches out of the bleat of a lamb or the boding 
of a raven ; but they had never wakened to a trumpet's 
tone. Nay, we have to qualify such a statement 
by admitting that at the Reformation these echoes 
did faintly stir — 

" In that glorious time 
When Learning, like a stranger come from afar 
Sounding through Christian lands her trumpet, roused 
Peasant and King.'" 

But the ballad-blare that stung the blood of Sir Philip 
Sidney was lost in our mountains, and the only form 
of patriotism to be found among them was merely 
the zest of a handful of men for tribal independence. 
It is therefore a matter of thankfulness for us that 
Wordsworth, in years largely covered by his occu- 
pancy of Dove Cottage, used poesy to express manly 
feeling for the widest interests of England, so that in 
his hands, hardly less than in Milton's, 

"The thing became a trumpet.'" 

Some ten or twelve of Wordsworth's poems about 
Liberty and Independence will stand, still appealing 
to every class of mind, when nearly all the over- 
minute nature-etchings in the Excursion have been 

289 t 


relegated to the cabinets of critics. Here was the 
lesson, learnt at Cockermouth, emerging in its highest 
truth — the love of Liberty passed into songs of Duty. 
Yet most of these bugle-alarms sounded for England's 
Independence, though belonging to the Dove Cottage 
period, were uttered far away from Grasmere. It is 
almost with misgiving that, as we proudly ponder this 
body of national poetry given to us by Wordsworth 
during the Napoleonic struggle, we come upon that 
sonnet of narrower range — Composed by the Side of 
Grasmere Lake in 1807 — which reminds us of the 
Lakelanders' worst shortcoming, their pre-occupation 
within their native pastoral limits : 

" List ! a voice is near ; 
Great Pan himself low-whispering through the reeds, 
' Be thankful, thou ; for, if unholy deeds 
Ravage the world, tranquillity is here. ,r> 

In his later periods Wordsworth was felicitous 
in using classic lore, though sparingly, to illustrate 
home scenery or English feeling. On the Power of 
Sound contains this second reference to the god of 
fruitful peace : 

" The pipe of Pan, to shepherds 
Couched in the shadow of Maenalian pines, 
Was passing sweet ; the eyeballs of the leopards, 
That in high triumph drew the Lord of Vines, 
How did they sparkle to the cymbal's clang ! 
While Fauns and Satyrs beat the ground 
In cadence, — and Silenus swang 
This way and that, with wild-flowers crowned.*" 

There are portions of the Prelude which convey 
a sense of the " growth of a Poetic Mind " through 
natural rapture as free as the spirit of the lines just 


* a 

, O 

< m 

■J ^3 

pg <-. 


quoted. But how does The Power of Sound proceed ? 
Its next words are these : 

" To life, to life give back thine ear : 
Ye who are longing to be rid 
Of fable, though to truth subservient, hear 
The little sprinkling of cold earth that fell 
Echoed from the coffin lid ; 
The convict's summons in the steeple's knell ; 
' The vain distress-gun, 1 from a leeward shore, 
Repeated — heard, and heard no more ! " 

Such is not "life," as we anywhere meet it in the 
Prelude ; but the feeling of this passage verberates 
through the Excursion: say what Wordsworth will 
about the immortalities, the strongest impression 
derived from the Excursion is of the grave. The 
Wanderer, the Solitary, and the Pastor are old men 
(and their poetic interlocutor speaks to them also 
like an old man) drawn together by a funeral cortege 
and a churchyard; old men — they give one the 
impression of four down-gazing AVordsworths with 
green shades over their eyes — trying to hearten each 
other against Death. The Excursion is not com- 
parable, in power to break fresh intellectual ground, 
with the Prelude. The fourth book of the Excursion 
contains at least two glorious outbursts, perhaps 
worthy of Milton at his best ; yet the title of that 
book is applicable to the whole work — " Despondency 
Corrected " ; and the circumstances and manner in 
which the self-complacent Pastor "corrects" the 
wide world, at the end of the ninth book, must be to 
many minds wholly unacceptable. Often, as Cole- 
ridge pointed out, our author in this poem labours 
precisely at a bit of landscape which would be better 



rendered, not by three hundred words, but by half- 
a-dozen strokes of an artist's pencil. The inevitable- 
ness of the recurring landscape-illustrations in the 
Excursion discounts pleasure. Descriptions like the 
Sunrise in book two (830), executed at second hand 
from a friend's experiences, and piling up metaphors 
about the glory of the skies from the domes and 
turrets of earth, may have their gorgeousness, yet 
leave us unsatisfied and disconcerted. Probably one 
of the deftest and truest pieces of fancy in the poem 
is the Pastor's reflection upon Grasmere Churchyard 
(v. 526) : 

u We safely may affirm that human life 
Is either fair and tempting, a soft scene 
Grateful to sight, refreshing to the soul, 
Or a forbidden tract of cheerless view ; 
Even as the same is looked at, or approached. 
Thus, when in changeful April fields are white 
With new-fallen snow, if from the sullen north 
Your walk conduct you hither, ere the sun 
Hath gained its noontide height, this churchyard, filled 
With mounds transversely lying side by side 
From east to west, before you will appear 
An unillumined, blank, and dreary plain, 
With more than wintry cheerlessness and gloom 
Saddening the heart. Go forward, and look back ; 
Look, from the quarter whence the lord of light, 
Of life, of love, and gladness doth dispense 
His beams ; which, unexcluded in their fall, 
Upon the southern side of every grave 
Have gently exercised a melting power; 
Then will a vernal prospect greet your eye 
All fresh and beautiful, and green and bright, 
Hopeful and cheerful : — Vanished is the pall 
That overspread and chilled the sacred turf, 
Vanished or hidden ; and the whole domain, 
To some, too lightly minded, might appear 
A meadow carpet for the dancing hours." 


This poem is strewn with curious felicities of senten- 
tiousness, for Wordsworth was ever prolific of high 
thoughts tersely detached, in exquisitely chosen 
words, from his main argument. Of nature-glimpses 
vouchsafed in this poem through this same medium 
of condensed language, we have — to choose among 
many lovely things — the Youth viewing from the 
Athol hills an ocean sunrise (poetically, for geo- 
graphically the thing was impossible) : 

" Rapt into still communion that transcends 
The imperfect offices of prayer and praise." 


The address to the Creator : 

" Thou, who didst wrap the cloud 
Of infancy around us, that thyself, 
Therein, with our simplicity awhile 
Might'st hold, on earth, communion undisturbed ; 
Who from the anarchy of dreaming sleep, 
Or from its death-like void, with punctual care, 
And touch as gentle as the morning light, 
Restor'st us daily." 

(iv. 83) ; 

Atmospheric effects among the hills : 

" The mists, 
Flying, and rainy vapours, call out shapes 
And phantoms from the crags and solid earth 
As fast as a musician scatters sound 
Out of an instrument." 

(iv. 520) ; 

The drama of the fields : 

64 Ah, what a warning for a thoughtless man, 
Could field or grove, could any spot on earth, 
Show to his eye an image of the pangs 
Which it hath witnessed ; render back an echo 
Of the sad steps by which it hath been trod ! " 

(vi. 806) ; 


And animal life in tranquillity : 

" By happy chance we saw 
A two-fold image ; on a grassy bank 
A snow-white ram, and in the crystal flood 
Another and the same ! " 

(ix. 439). 

It has never been clearly pointed out that in 
Wordsworth's early disgust at the horrors of war 
lies the real genesis of the Excursion. When Words- 
worth was a boy of twelve, at Hawkshead (1782), 
England's humiliated soldiers were returning from our 
unfortunate war with America. He was eighteen when, 
on the ridge of the Hawkshead road between the 
two Sawreys, he met the patient soldier, outworn 
by service in " the Tropic Islands," who poured out to 
him his moving tale {Prelude, iv. 387) of " war, battle, 
and pestilence." In 1793, when he was in his twenty- 
fourth year, he watched our fleet assembling at Ports- 
mouth for the commencement of the struggle with 
France. His note to Guilt and Sorrow gives us his 
state of mind then : " I left the place with melan- 
choly forebodings. The American war was still fresh 
in memory. The struggle ... I was assured in my 
own mind, would be of long continuance, and pro- 
ductive of distress and misery beyond all possible 
calculation." While thus his early thoughts con- 
tinued to be occupied with the desolations of war 
in contrast to battle's romantic side, the poet was 
repeatedly drawn to contemplate the soldier's profes- 
sion as affecting the lives of women. At a time of 
life when many a singer would have been driven 
uncontrollably from lyric passion to lyric passion 
among lovely mistresses, Wordsworth's heart was 



engrossed with pity for the wretched wives and 
widows of men whose blood was sucked by war. 
In the first of his published poems— An Evening 
Walk, finished in 1789 — the single human figure is 
the soldier's relict, and this woman is undoubtedly 
a sketch that led to Margaret, The Female Vagrant 
(1791-94, later expanded into Guilt and Sorrow) 
should be studied in its original form, as printed 
in Lyrical Ballads. There we have a story conceived 
on Salisbury Plain, based on " the calamities, princi- 
pally those consequent upon war, to which, more 
than other classes of men, the poor are subject." The 
imaginary heroine of this poem is bred in happiness 
on the farm of her yeoman father, on the banks of 
Derwentwater. A rich absentee-landlord of the 
neighbourhood forces ruin upon the farmer's freehold. 
Father and daughter leave their " hereditary nook " 
for a distant town, where the girl weds a poor artist, 
who enlists for the American war, taking with him the 
brave young wife who soon falls into the miseries of 
widowhood and destitution. Her Eyes are Wild 
(1798) and Ruth (1799) are similar studies of warfare 
seen through the minds of stricken women among the 
poor. In this same period of Alfoxden (1 798), Words- 
worth completed Margaret : that marvellous study 
of a forsaken woman brooding amid the half-rejected 
lovelinesses of nature. Margaret mourns a soldier- 
husband, whose fate is thus referred to by the poet : 
" I was born too late to have a distinct remembrance 
of the origin of the American war ; but the state in 
which I represent Robert's mind to be, I had frequent 
opportunities of observing at the commencement of 
our rupture with France in 1793." The character of 



" Margaret," we know, was drawn originally from a 
woman of Dorset or Somerset. The embryo of the 
story was the passage beginning (Excursion, i. 871) 

" Nine tedious years " 

and ending (916) 

" Last human tenant of these ruined walls." 

Wordsworth observes of this section : " Composed in 
'95 at Racedown ; and for several passages describing 
the employment and demeanour of Margaret during 
her affliction, I was indebted to observations made in 
Dorsetshire, and afterwards at Alfoxden, where 1 
resided in '97 and '98." 

It was from the materials thus gathered for 
" Margaret " that Wordsworth began (Note that The 
Prelude, finished in 1805, was still in hand) to elabo- 
rate a larger poem which he and Dorothy called The 
Pedlar. From December of 1801 to February of 1802, 
Dorothy's Journal contains fifteen allusions to the 
poet's toil over The Pedlar, which ultimately became 
the first two books of a still larger work finally de- 
signated by the general name of The Excursion. 
The first two books are the best. Nearly all the re- 
mainder of the great poem was composed amid the 
discomforts of Allan Bank. Coleridge did not think 
highly of the Excursion as a whole, but of the story 
of Margaret, comprising so much of the first book, 
he declared that it was " superior ... to anything in 
our language which in any way resembles it." 

We have seen, then, that the real origin of the 
Excursion lies in Alfoxden meditations against war 
expanded in the earliest years of the Wordsworths 



at Dove Cottage. Now, as to that large portion 
of the poem (seven books) which was still to be 
written when the Wordsworths had enjoyed ample 
opportunity of becoming intimate with their neigh- 
bours, what are we to say ? If the poet was learning 
much from the Dalesfolk of Grasmere during these 
years, we should expect to find his impressions of 
these neighbours in the Excursion, if anywhere. 
James Russell Lowell, on a page to which this 
book is indebted for its title, seems to suggest that he 
looked upon our poet as closely associated with those 
denizens of the valleys around him. " He had a 
fondness for particulars, and there are parts of his 
poems which remind us of local histories in the undue 
relative importance given to trivial matters. He was 
the historian of Wordsworthshire." If Lowell is to 
be taken as supposing that Wordsworth particu- 
larises about these neighbours, and if this supposi- 
tion be correct, the Excursion must be a chronicle 
of people in and around Grasmere. The poem, be 
it noted, observes the classic law of the unities, 
according to which a drama should conduct its action 
on a single scene, should present its events as occur- 
ring within the twenty-four hours of a single day, and 
should admit no incident irrelevant to the development 
of the single plot. The scene of the Excursion is a 
single setting of the stage, Grasmere and its neighbour 
Langdale rolled into one, after the poet's usual manner 
of " composing." The poem's action, from first to 
last, occupies less than twelve hours. And the in- 
cidents gather round a single plot, which is none 
other than this, that two men go for a walk. The 
main incident structurally arising from this plot is 



the resolve of other two men to join the first two in 
their excursion ; and these four leisurely pedestrians 
discourse in turn on scenery and local biography. 
Here is a catalogue of the people who relate these 
anecdotes or are described in them. The Wanderer, 
a Pedlar from Athol in the Highlands of Scot- 
land (i. 38) ; the Solitary, another Scot, compounded 
with one or two Londoners : the original Scot, 
says Wordsworth, " was in no respect an interest- 
ing character" (ii. 155); the Pastor, of whom his 
creator remarks, " I had no one individual in my 
mind " (v. 440) ; Margaret, a Dorset woman 
(i. 469) ; a Grasmere pauper, received into a Lang- 
dale woman's house through greed, and given " a 
kennel " to live in ; but the Langdale woman was 
really a study brought from Patterdale (ii. 738) ; 
a Bride from Somerset (iii. 480) ; an untraceable 
Knight of Henry VIII. 's time (v. 180) ; a misty 
Knight and Lady of Charles II. 's time (v. 186) ; 
"Jonathan and Betty Yewdale," inhabiting (seem- 
ingly) Hackett House, in Langdale ; but the Fenwick 
note to " An Epistle to Sir George Beaumont " says 
their name was Oldfield, and they lived in Yewdale 
(v. 692) ; an anonymous youth recollected from the 
poet's schooldays at Hawkshead (vi. 102) ; a Patter- 
dale miner (vi. 212); two Grasmere young men named 
Dawson : but one of them turns out, on the testimony 
of Dr. John Davy, to be Thomas Wedgwood, phil- 
anthropist (vii. 695) ; a couple of political gentlemen 
inhabiting Hawkshead — one, an exiled Scottish chief, 
Drummond by name, the other, Sir George Vandeput, 
from the south of England (vi. 392) ; a female miser 
of Grasmere, with a dissolute son (vi. 675) ; a Hawks- 



head girl who bore an illegitimate baby (vi. 786) ; 
" Wilfred Armathwaite," of Grasmere, an adulterer 
(1814 edition of poem), with his fussy wife and frail 
maidservant (vi. 1079) ; a widower and six daughters 
from the Fells (vi. 1116) ; another Grasmere widower 
(1814 edition) who was defrauded of his fields after 
pledging himself as surety for a friend (vi. 1200) ; 
Sympson — with his family — a parson from North- 
umberland (vii. 55) whose described journey to Gras- 
mere is " copied from another instance in real life " ; 
" Wonderful Walker," born at Seathwaite, buried at 
Seathwaite : the poem treats him as alive but, oddly, 
predicts his burial at Grasmere (vii. 315) ; a deaf 
man, Thomas Holmes, imported from Hawes Water, 
where, and not at Grasmere, he veritably lies (vii. 395) ; 
a blind man, John Gough, similarly raised from his 
tomb, at Kendal, to furnish a Grasmere grave 
(vii. 482) ; a Grasmere woodcutter, " peasant of the 
lowest class " (vii. 550) ; a real Grasmere family, the 
Greens, good people (vii. 632) ; a " Scottish gentle- 
man" of the Elizabethan age, knighted by Wordsworth 
as Sir Alfred Irthing ; Sir Alfred fictitiously presents 
to the church a set of bells, really the gift of authentic 
Grasmere people. Most of the persons in this list — so 
many of them imported or otherwise " treated " — 
are supposed, in the poem, to lie buried in the 
very churchyard in which the poet intended his 
own bones to rest. Do they not form a strange 
medley ? Does not Wordsworth seem " hard put 
to it " to fill his churchyard ? No doubt it may be 
urged that, after all, this is a graveyard created by a 
poet, and he may fill it on any plan that suits him. 
So be it. But how does Wordsworth figure at 



Grasmere as its " historian " ? Are these details evi- 
dence for, or are they evidence against, affectionate 
intimacy with Grasmere's family records, on the part 
of this mighty dreamer ? Here, as generally, Words- 
worth pictures Man, rather than Men. Mortalia, haud 

As the scheme of the Excursion is simplicity 
itself, and occupies only one day, so the story of The 
Waggoner (1806) is just the account of a carrier who 
uses up twelve hours of darkness in guiding his great 
wain and his team of eight horses from Ambleside to 
Keswick. " That far-off tinkling's drowsy cheer" 
passing Dove Cottage — which was once an inn known 
as " The Dove and Olive Bough " — it is a sound that 
through the night to Wordsworth and his sister 
speaks of loved Cumberland ! Benjamin and his 
horses are bound for their Keswick home. Very 
direct and simple is the diction of The Waggoner, 
and as impressive as simple is the lurching voyage, 
through storm, of this wheeled ship of the roads, 

" In pomp of mist or pomp of snow 
Majestically huge and slow." 

From Dove Cottage, in 1808, the Words worths 
moved to the roomier shelter of Allan Bank, at the 
other end of Grasmere village. There Wordsworth, 
penning the closing pages of the Excursion (ix. 53), 
seems for a moment to carry his mind back to the 
Beacon (Penrith's "Eminence"), and then imagina- 
tion changes this into a peak of the true Lakeland : 

" Yet have I thought that we might also speak, 
And not presumptuously, I trust, of Age, 
As of a filial Eminence ; though bare 


< >> 
^ 2 

■<1 in 


In aspect and forbidding, yet a point 

On which 'tis not impossible to sit 

In awful sovereignty ; a place of power, 

A throne that may be likened unto his, 

Who, in some placid day of summer, looks 

Down from a mountain-top, — say one of those 

High peaks that bound the vale where now we are. 

Faint, and diminished to the gazing eye 

Forest and field, and hill and dale appear, 

With all the shapes over their surface spread : 

But, while the gross and visible frame of things 

Relinquishes its hold upon the sense, 

Yea almost on the Mind herself, and seems 

All unsubstantialised, — how loud the voice 

Of waters, with invigorated peal 

From the full river in the vale below, 

Ascending ! For on that superior height 

Who sits, is disencumbered from the press 

Of near obstructions, and is privileged 

To breathe in solitude, above the host 

Of ever-humming insects, 'mid thin air 

That suits not them. The murmur of the leaves 

Many and idle, visits not his ear ; 

This he is freed from, and from thousand notes 

(Not less unceasing, not less vain than these), 

By which the finer passages of sense 

Are occupied ; and the Soul, that would incline 

To listen, is prevented or deterred.'" 

The last days at Dove Cottage and the early 
months in the new damp house called Allan Bank 
were not days of happiness to our household. Poverty, 
honourable as ever, became more of a positive tax on 
energies when a young family was growing up, when 
the women of the house had too much to do, when 
William Wordsworth could scarcely gain a perfectly 
quiet hour for indoor study, and when Coleridge tar- 
ried under the same roof, an incarnation of unhelpful 
despondency. The little colony, secluded among these 
mountains, with few intimates and even few local 



acquaintances, had almost fallen a prey to the mor- 
bidity endangered by " introverted minds." It was 
well that Wordsworth at this period of cloud and 
stress when he had 

" breathed 
A parting tribute to a spot that seemed 
Like a fixed centre of a troubled world, 11 

was able to break away through Kendal to friends 
at Coleorton and London. A Radical still at the 
core, on certain points he had become Conservative. 
Perhaps the chief cause of this modification in his 
thinking was his disgusted apprehension that the 
Lake district, which truly was saved only by the 
advent to the plains of steam power, was about to be 
exploited for manufacturing purposes by Manchester 
capitalists. From Allan Bank — giving up thought 
of building on Place Fell, Ullswater, where Lord 
Lonsdale had bought him a site — the poet flitted 
to Grasmere Parsonage for a little, and thence, after 
suffering domestic bereavement, he passed to Rydal 
Mount. From the Parsonage he had written to Lord 
Lonsdale soliciting Government aid, and ere long he 
acknowledged, first a temporary pension from that 
nobleman, and, secondly, an appointment as Distri- 
butor of Stamps for Westmorland. To this post 
Wordsworth was enabled later to add a Distributor- 
ship for Cumberland, and so ample pecuniary comfort 
rolled in on him just when the tide of public feeling 
was beginning also to roll in with favour for his writ- 
ings. Kendal and Kendal politics — the politics of 
the Lowther family — now assumed a large place in 
Wordsworth's thought (hence, to illustrate the drift 
of argument underlying the present work, the fourth 



circle of influences, in the diagram set forth on page 
217). Opposing Brougham's parliamentary candi- 
dature, Wordsworth had to confess in a letter to 
Lowther Castle that he had been threatened with a 
fine of £160 for interfering in politics while holding 
from Government a local position of emolument. In 
another letter to Lord Lonsdale, he described him- 
self as meeting under singular political circumstances 
an old schoolfellow from whom he had been estranged 
for long : 

" Kendal, Friday Noon, \%th February 1815. 

"My Lord, — Three times have I begun to write to your 
Lordship, since Wednesday afternoon, and have thrown the 
sheets into the fire, lest, if I wrote with due regard for truth, 
I should alarm you and your family unnecessarily. Things 
seem now settled long enough to remove all apprehension. 
Lord Lowther has been walking about the Town without any- 
thing occurring to his annoyance. On the frightful subject of 
the conduct of the mob I shall not enter at present. Thanks 
to a merciful Providence, no lives were lost ; the persons most 
seriously hurt belonged to their own Party, with exception of 
Mr. Fleming of Rayrigg, whom I have seen this morning ; and 
I am sorry to say he remains confined to his bed and sofa at the 
King's Arms, suffering considerably. A stone, the size of a 
man's head, struck him on his back, and caused a spitting of 
blood ; but which appears to have ceased. 

". . . Lord Lowther has called upon Mr. Wakefield this 
morning. I have been invited to dine at the house of Mr. John 
Wakefield, and mean to go. His son, who has canvassed actively 
for Mr. Brougham, is a very amiable young man, whose acquaint- 
ance I shall cultivate. I have already had a long conversation 
with him on the merits of this contest, in which I omitted nothing 
that I could think of as likely to open his eyes to its true char- 
acter. He was manifestly staggered ; but he acknowledged that 
his Father is very violent. The young man is going away for 
a month, and said that he is heartily glad of it, being sick of 
the business. Neither he nor the Editor of the paper thinks 
that Brougham has any chance, and both deem him a person 
quite unfit to be a County Member. 



u The doctrine of our adversaries is, in effect, this ; where 
there is least property let there be most weight, where there is 
least knowledge let there be most sway. It is worthy of your 
Lordship to stand forward with all your might against measures 
supported by such opinions. . . . 

"Lord Lowther has had to complain. ... On Thursday 
night it was determined that the Town should be canvassed 
next morning. When the morning came the committee was 
daunted to a man; and had it not been for Lord Lowther's 
firmness, no attempt would have been made. He behaved nobly. 
I breakfasted with him and the Chairman. Mr. W. wished the 
sense of the Com. to be taken. Lord L. said, ' No, I take it 
upon myself.' I observed that it was a point of honour, in the 
case, and must be attempted. Mr. W. pleaded fear for their 
houses and families. Not being an inhabitant, I could go no 
farther. Lord L. required no support. He proceeded to canvass 
and did not meet with the slightest interruption. In almost 
everything Lord L. has had to act against the sense of the Com. 
This is deplorable. . . . 

" I dined at Mr. Wakefield's yesterday. Mr. John W., senior, 
broke out on the dependent and enslaved state of the County, 
&c. I said that I had accepted his son's invitation, to testify 
my respect for his family, and my personal regard for his son ; 
and this subject must be waived. Only I begged to state that 
as to the fact of the County being represented by two of the 
Family of Lowther, no person lamented it more than your Lord- 
ship. . . ." 

This hitherto unpublished document is perhaps too 
long for these pages, yet it may serve, like the follow- 
ing brilliant letter to the poet from Dorothy (this also, 
published for the first time), to show how the whole 
Wordsworth household had been stung into a mood 
of thought far different from the aloofness to the 
world that reigned in early days at Dove Cottage : — 

" Kendal, March 23rd [1818], 4 o'clock. 
" Half an hour ago we came home after seeing the procession, 
hearing the speech, &c. &c. &c. Long before which time we 
were waiting at Mrs. Strickland's, a heavy shower of snow and 
hail came on, which continued during the whole of the harangue. 
As to the order of the Procession, I can give no account of that. 




" Except the flying Flags (and they were very gay) all is much 
prettier laid down in the hand-bill and the Kendal Chronicle, 
which no doubt have reached you ere this. But the multi- 
tude of heads, fearless of the storm, one condensed line in 
motion wedging in the Horsemen and Carriages, which all 
slowly streamed on together, was grand. If the cause had 
been better, my feelings as a Spectator would have been really 

" But when you looked at the Individuals who composed 
it, you could hardly single out a gentleman. Blackguards by 
the score — and multitudes of young lads. The halt was made 
at the Bank — God save the King and other tunes played — and 
a short while after, Mr. B. and his brother had entered Mr. 
Wakefield's drawing-room. ' Silence ' was proclaimed, and 
the Candidate for the favour of that precious mob-assembly 
made his appearance at the centre window. But I should first 
have told you, that the Thompsons, Wybergh, and our Cousin 
Crackanthorpe had been for some time stationed at the windows 
— and C. and I exchanged a friendly greeting in which the 
Misses Thompson joined. But now the Horsemen were gone, 
and the People condensed at each end pressing up and down so 
as to get as near as possible to the Orator. Of course when he 
appeared at the window, he was hailed by a tremendous shout 
— and when anything fell from his lips that particularly took 
their fancies, the cry of applause was repeated with more or less 

" His dress was a dark coat, yellow waistcoat, and a very 
large blue silk Handkerchief tied round his neck — the streamers 
hanging down to the bottom of his waist. I assure you he 
has nothing of a Westmoreland Countenance. I could have 
fancied him one of the French Demagogues of the Tribunal 
| of Terror at certain times, when he gathered a particular fierce- 
ness into his face. He is very like a Frenchman. He opened 
his speech with most humble thanks to that goodly assembly — 
not of Freeholders, and indeed you would have supposed he 
was ashamed of the word — ashamed of the support of Free- 
holders ; for he never once addressed them, never but once used 
the word Freeholders, and that was merely incidental, speaking 
of them as having something to do at the Election. He was 
most grateful for the reception he had met with — he had nothing 
to lament but the bad weather — which was the only unfortunate 
circumstance attending this meeting. What a contrast to the 
memorable 13th ! — here he was admonished by his good Friend 

305 u 


William Abbot or some other, it was the 11th — which rather 
put him out — * I was going to say, Gentlemen, that the only 
circumstance in favour of our Opponents was the weather ! how 
much are all other circumstances in our favour ! ' (Loud ap- 

" He then asserted that the Riots were occasioned by the 
conduct of the other Party — and not a little more of the 
like in the lowest style of Mob-oratory. It was despicable — 
the only merit he had as an Orator was that he uttered his 
words distinctly and had plenty of them at command. He did 
not intend to detain the Gentlemen long, but he would say a 
few words respecting the Arts used by the other Party. Among 
these were writings poured out daily — and now begins his 
battery against you. One of these venal underhand anonymous 
writers had taunted him with Poverty. He was the first who 
had descended to personalities in this contest, a Man who held 
a sinecure in this County and who had no other property be- 
sides — or very little. This man whose writings, &c. &c. — and 
so he went on abusing them — 'I do not speak of his poetry, 
but his laboured compositions in prose — which would be far 
harder work for his Readers than the duties of his place furnish 
him with.' 

"After a great deal more of this, of which not a single 
word as applied to you was understood by any of his hearers 
except the Faction around him — and our Cousin C, who 
at the beginning of it gave a significant and good-humoured 
look at me, and Miss C. says, retired from the window. I was 
determined to keep my place till he had finished with that sub- 
ject — from which he turned to the Lowthers and L. Castle — 
which with eloquence well adapted to his audience, he reminded 
them used to be called Lowther Hall. He did not accuse the 
Lowthers of the falsehoods and calumnies so basely uttered, no, 
he knew my Lord Lonsdale was a man of far too much sense — 
he then turned to the argument used in their favour of their 
great wealth, of which you may guess what use he made, and 
how he was applauded. Again and again he adverted to the 
reproach against his own poverty, and the poverty and smallness 
of Westd., using your very words. His next subject was Lord 
Thanet and the Courier — Lord T. who disdained to use his 
wealth and power for electioneering purposes ! and in the course 
of this part of his argument he said that if he (B) had one- 
tenth of the wealth of Lord L — e he would not let one of his 
Sons receive £11 or J1200 a year from the People — ' It comes 



out of your pockets ' — and in another part of the speech you 
cannot conceive the bitterness with which he said, ' They have 
great Riches, but how did they get their riches!' Oh! he 
looked ready to lead a gang of Robespierrists set to pull down 
Lowther Castle and tear up the very trees that adorn it. He 
then — in illustration of what point I have really forgotten — 
bungled out a quotation from our ' Immortal Poet,' not, as he 
said, 'that Poet (pointing towards the Ambleside road), you 
are not to suppose I mean him whose writings I have just been 
alluding to. 1 No — the language intended to be uttered no 
doubt was Shakespeare's, but his memory here seemed to fail 
him ; and as Mrs. Strickland said, ' he put in some words of 
his own. 1 Whatever it was he meant to say, I could not hear 
distinctly what he did say, and I heard every word in all other 

" Before concluding, he addressed the Mob feelingly concern- 
ing his pretensions to represent them. He had been taunted 
for poverty, but if he had a penny it did not come out of their 
pockets. ' Do you recollect my first address ? , ' Oh yes, oh 
yes ! ' 'In that I rested solely upon my public conduct. 1 
' Yes, yes ; ' and, he assured them, he had a fortress as im- 
pregnable (clapping his hands on his breast) as Lowther Castle, 
even if it were as Brougham Castle, and others of the Castles 
of the Ancient Barons had been, a fortified Hold. He had been 
charged with being a Party man. He was not so, but he should 
not detain them, the weather being so bad, by detailing the 
course of his political conduct, but he assured them, in a great 
many words, that he had been labouring hard for the repeal of 
one tax, and he trusted his object would be accomplished. That 
was the Leather tax, and he would never let it rest. With 
this promise ended all the Information which he had to give. 

" He concluded with his fervent thanks — 'thanks ! no, it is not 
for me to thank you, the cause is yours, not mine, and you ought 
rather to thank me ! ' (Oh no, his important communications 
did not end so.) He told them 'the name of a Westmoreland 
Man in distant parts was hailed with triumph. It was esteemed 
an honour to belong to that County, and in all parts a Westd. 
Man was looked up to. 1 Here he paused — I suppose that the 
Mob did not understand where they were held in such high re- 
spect, so he explained, ' I mean in the South, in Lunnon.' Now, 
I have done — but I have not given and cannot possibly give you, 
an idea of the manner in which all this was said, and an im- 
portant part I have omitted. Towards the end of the harangue, 



he told the Mob that among other calumnies it had been asserted 
that his Opponents had said he intended to withdraw from the 
contest. ' Do you see anything about me like withdrawing ? ' 
(and he fiercely looked defiance). 4 No, no ; this is but a field- 
day, and we shall meet again at Appleby, and then you will see 
who is the first to give out. 1 In the course of his peroration, 
his thanks, his leave-taking, he again bitterly lamented the bad 
weather, but hoped they would not catch cold, and concluded 
that part of his subject with proud congratulations that they 
were not afraid of a storm. 

" Now I have done. ... It is plain they have yet a hope of 
carrying the day by talk on the Hustings. They expect to 
make a figure there ; but they evidently do not expect to go 
thither prepared with Voters. . ." 

So much to indicate the Kendal circle of influence. 
These documents have been drawn, by the present Earl 
of Lonsdale's permission, from a bundle of over one 
hundred political letters written by the Wordsworth s. 
They lie in Lowther Castle. Brother and sister had 
long watched with dismay the transfer of the States- 
men's small holdings to money-lenders and city 
manufacturers desiring country quarters. " What 
else," wrote Wordsworth, " but the stability and 
weight of a large estate, with proportionate influence 
in the House of Commons, can counterbalance the 
democratic activity of the wealthy commercial and 
manufacturing districts ? It appears to a superficial 
observer, warm from contemplating the theory of 
the Constitution, that the political power of the 
great Landowners ought by every true lover of his 
country to be strenuously resisted : but I would 
ask a well-intentioned native of Westmorland or 
Cumberland who had fallen into this mistake if he 
could point out any arrangement by which Jacobin- 
ism can be frustrated, except by the existence 



of large estates." And now let us return to the life- 
work of a poet. 

As three circles have been drawn on one of 
our maps, to show an inner Lakeland within two 
larger Lakelands, so we might draw circles upon 
the record of Wordsworth's life to manifest three 
degrees of his maturity. The inner circle — that of 
intensest power — would be practically a Grasmere 
period (1800-1808; Matthew Arnold suggests this 
limit of 1808). The second circle would rather in- 
clude the years from 1798 {Lyrical Ballads, Alfoxden) 
to 1818. The year 1818 has been frequently named 
as closing up Wordsworth's truest creative life with 
the Lines Composed upon an Evening of Extraordi- 
nary Splendour and Beauty. But the argument of 
the study now in hand must claim a still wider circle, 
stretching from the epoch-making Evening Walk of 
1789 to the purest and most faithful presentment 
of" Words worthshire " to be found in the whole range 
of the poet's writings — the Duddon Sonnets, finished 
and published in 1820. For those who dwell in this 
now famous district, the Evening Walk will probably 
remain what it was when it appeared, the closest 
appreciation of detail in Lake scenery ever conveyed 
into verse. The Sonnets to the River Duddon, with 
all their witchery of artistic finish, and with their curi- 
ous sidelight of classical allusion, are as radiant, and 
as redolent of home-soil, to any Lakelander, as heather 
is radiant and redolent to an expatriated Scot. We 
think, in Lakeland, that the Duddon valley is the 
sweetest pastoral valley of England ; and that is 
saying much. And Wordsworth thought so too. 
This is plain in almost every line of these devoutly 



truthful poems about Nature. Into them has passed, 
for the ear of those attuned by attachment to these 
heights and dales, the very truth of truth that lies in 
"beauty born of murmuring sound." The Guide to 
the Lakes had been originally (1810) printed to accom- 
pany poor drawings of Lakeland by one Wilkinson. 
But in 1820 Wordsworth republished this prose 
analysis of the beauty of our meres and streams and 
valleys as an introduction to the Duddon Sonnets: 
" from a consciousness of its having been written in 
the same spirit which dictated several of the poems, 
and from a belief that it will tend materially to 
illustrate them." Save for the rather jealous line 
about " sordid industry," we could hardly wish a word 
changed in this sonnet series. We are well content 
to acknowledge here the classic poem of Lakeland — 
of Wordsworth shire ; and let the great world enjoy 
in its general way all the rest of Wordsworth's later 
lays. Above the lovely music of Duddon now 
and for ever rises a still more thrilling over-song. 

True rings the Dedication of these Duddon poems 
to the poet's brother : 

" Ah, not for emerald fields alone, 
With ambient streams more pure and bright 
Than fabled Cytherea's zone 
Glittering before the Thunderer's sight, 
Is to my heart of hearts endeared 
The ground where we were born and reared. 

Hail, ancient Manners ! sure defence, 
Where they survive, of wholesome laws ; 
Remnants of love whose modest sense 
Thus into narrow room withdraws ; 
Hail, Usages of pristine mould, 
An4 ye that guard them, Mountains old ! " 


No other passages in the works of Wordsworth 
speak of Dale customs with such sincere tenderness 
as the thirteen stanzas composing this Dedication 
to Brother Christopher. Then in stately ease the 
sonnets begin, as if the poet had been standing on 
the summit of Wrynose in company with some 
lettered officer from Agricola's adjacent camp : 

" Not envying Latian shades — if yet they throw 
A grateful coolness round that crystal Spring, 
Bandusia, prattling as when long ago 
The Sabine Bard was moved her praise to sing ; 
Careless of flowers that in perennial blow 
Round the moist marge of Persian fountains cling ; 
Heedless of Alpine torrents thundering 
Through ice-built arches radiant as heaven's bow ; 
I seek the birthplace of a native Stream — 
All hail, ye mountains ! hail, thou morning light ! 
Better to breathe at large on this clear height 
Than toil in needless sleep from dream to dream : 
Pure flow the verse, pure, vigorous, free, and bright, 
For Duddon, long-loved Duddon, is my theme ! " 

And then, through the ever swifter-leaping series, 
the glad madness of the crystal river is seen (xx.) 
to course, to 

" Dance like a Bacchanal, from rock to rock, 
Tossing her frantic Thyrsus wide and high ! " 

We think again of The Danish Boy as we read 

(xvii.) : 

" A dark plume fetch me from yon blasted yew, 
Perched on whose top the Danish raven croaks.'' 1 

Dorothy, the sharer in the innocent raptures of 
childhood at Cockermouth, floats up to the poet's 
vision through the descending music of this virgin 
brook (xxv.) : 



u Methinks 'twere no unprecedented feat 
Should some benignant Minister of air 
Lift, and encircle with a cloudy chair, 
The One for whom my heart shall ever beat 
With tenderest love ; — or, if a safer seat 
Atween his downy wings be furnished, there 
Would lodge her, and the cherished burden bear 
O'er hill and valley to this dim retreat ! 
Rough ways my steps have trod ; — too rough and long 
For her companionship ; here dwells soft ease : 
With sweets that she partakes not, some distaste 
Mingles, and lurking consciousness of wrong ; 
Languish the flowers ; the waters seem to waste 
Their vocal charm ; their sparklings cease to please." 

And from the test of Dorothy's pure presence, this 
brooder over the still sad music of humanity turns to 
ponder mortalia in the shadows of a Quaker burial- 
ground (xxix. ). Let Canon Rawnsley's beautiful note 
here illuminate this sonnet for us [Knight's edition of 
Poems, vi. 259] : 

" There are few more touching scenes in the Duddon Valley 
than the little lonely hillside burial-place of the early Friends, 
spoken of in Sonnet xxix. All round the inside of the rude 
wall enclosure are still to be seen the stone seats used by the 
followers of Fox, who were forbidden to hold their meetings 
under any lower roof than the canopy of Heaven. The Scotch 
firs have grown into stately shades since the Quakers sat in 
silent meditation high uplifted above the life of the valley and 
the noise of Duddon and the tributary stream just opposite. 
But though the Friends lie here in unvisited graves, the earth 
is neither blank nor forlorn. Laurels glisten above their rest, 
and the Spircva salicifolia waves its light wands of flower above 
their sleep, all evidences of care for the heroes of a cause that 
is not dead yet." 

" No record tells of lance opposed to lance, 
Horse charging horse, 'mid these retired domains; 
Tells that their turf drank purple from the veins 
Of heroes, fallen, or struggling to advance, 
Till doubtful combat issued in a trance 


Of victory, that struck through heart and reins 
Even to the inmost seat of mortal pains, 
And lightened o'er the pallid countenance. 
Yet, to the loyal and the brave, who lie 
In the blank earth, neglected and forlorn, 
The passing Winds memorial tribute pay ; 
The Torrents chant their praise, inspiring scorn 
Of power usurped ; with proclamation high, 
And glad acknowledgment, of lawful sway." 

Whether we wholly agree with him or not, surely 
we must admit that this was Wordsworth's habitual 
attitude of mind alike in youth and in the prime of 
his powers. His sympathies are seldom with the 
clangorous splendours of life's overt pageant. In 
human history, as in external nature {Prelude, xiii. 45), 
it is Wordsworth's joy : 

" To look with feelings of fraternal love 
Upon the unassuming things that hold 
A silent station in this beauteous world." 

The cool historian values such a thought as much as 
any poet could do, and presses it to far issues : 

" There is no fact of which an historian becomes more 
steadily or more painfully conscious than the great difference 
between the importance and the dramatic interest of the sub- 
ject he treats. Wars or massacres, the horrors of martyrdom 
or the splendour of individual prowess, are susceptible of such 
brilliant colouring that with but very little literary skill they 
can be so portrayed that their importance is adequately 
realised and that they appeal powerfully to the emotions of the 
reader. But this vast and unostentatious movement of charity, 
operating in the village hamlets, and in the lonely hospital, 
staunching the widow's tears and following all the windings of 
the poor man's griefs, presents few features the imagination 
can grasp, and leaves no deep impression upon the mind. The 
greatest things are those which are most imperfectly realised " 
(Lecky's History of European Morals). 



But now with our Poet we reach the outflow of the 
engentled Duddon, and all is a memory : 

" / thought of Thee, my partner and my guide, 
As being past away. Vain sympathies ! 
For, backward, Duddon ! as I cast my eyes, 
I see what was, and is, and will abide ; 
Still glides the Stream, and shall for ever glide ; 
The borm remains, the Function never dies ; 
While we, the brave, the mighty, and the wise, 
We Men, zvho in our morn of youth defied 
The elements, must vanish ; be it so ! 
Enough, if something from our hands have power 
To live, and act, and serve the future hour ; 
And if, as toward the silent tomb we go, 
Through love, through hope, and faith's transcendent dower, 
We feel that we are greater than we know.^ 

This is the loveliest, the only authentic Book of the 
Brook. It breathes like bonny Kilmeny , ' ' pure as pure 
could be " ; and it is descriptively loyal to its subject ; 
and it overflows with astherous exhilaration. Whence 
did Wordsworth, during and after the composition 
of the sombre Excursion, recover moods of this 
Theocritean joy? Through recollections from early 
childhood — chiefly at Cockermouth. He has stepped 
from Westmorland into Cumberland, " to seek the 
birthplace of a native Stream " ! "I first became 
acquainted with the river Duddon in early boyhood." 
The poet dedicates this work to Christopher in words 
affectionately reminding him that this Duddon is 
" one of the most beautiful streams of his native 
county." There is no spell so powerful over the ima- 
gination of Wordsworth as meditative recollection 
of childhood's impressions. From source to port, 
Derwent and Duddon never cease to be Cumber- 
land rivers. Nor is it completely beside the mark 



to add, that he who stands with Wordsworth at the 
source of either Derwent or Duddon, to track the 
elusive shimmerings of the stream that from rocky 
beginnings to its placid sand-endings disentangles 
the mountains, will find he has turned his back full 
on Penrith Beacon, and overlooks the inspiring play- 
grounds of a famous Cocker mouth Boy. 




Briggs (J.) : Letters from the Lakes. Kirkby Lonsdale, 1825. 

Clarke (J.) : Survey of the Lakes. 1787. 

Coleridge (S. T.) : Biographia Literaria. London, 1817. 

De Quincey (T.) : Reminiscences of English Lake Poets. Edinburgh, 

Dickinson (W.) : Cumberland Farm Life. Whitehaven, I869. 
Ferguson (R.) : Northmen in Cumberland and Westmorland. Carlisle, 

Gibson (A. Craig) : The Old Man (Coniston). London, 1849. 
Gilpin ( W.) : Observations on the Picturesque. London, 1786. 
Gough (J.) : Manners of Westmorland. Kendal, 1817. 
Hutchinson ( W.) : Excursion to the Lakes. London, 1776 ; and 

History of Cumberland, 1794. 
Hodgson (J.) : Topography of Westmorland. Kendal, 1827. 
Jollie (F.) : Cumberland Customs. Carlisle, 1811. 
Nicolson & Burn : History of Westmorland and Cumberland. London, 

Robinson, H. Crabb : Diaries. London, I869. 
Robinson (J.) : Guide to the Lakes. London, 1819- 
Sullivan (J.) : Cumberland and Westmorland. London, 1857. 
Waugh (E.) : Rambles in the Lake Country. London, 1861. 
Walker (J.) : History of Penrith. Penrith, 1858. 
Warner (R.) : Tour through Northern Countries. Bath, 1802. 
West (T.) : Guide to the Lakes. 7th ed., Kendal, 1799- 
Whitehead (H.) : Legends of Westmorland. Appleby, 1859. 
Wordsworth (C.) : Memoirs of W. Wordsworth. London, 1851. 
Worsaae (J.): Danes and Norwegians in England. London, 1852. 

Hearty thanks are due from the writer, and are hereby offered, 
to the following individuals for information given, suggestions and 
criticism offered, and (in the first two cases) permission accorded 
to use material hitherto unpublished. 

The Right Hon. the Earl of Lonsdale ; Mr. Gordon Wordsworth 
(Stepping Stones, Ambleside) ; Mr. J. Bolton, Rev. J. Parker 
(Cockermouth) ; Mr. D. Scott, Rev. R. H. Law, Rev. J. Cropper, 



Mr. W. Little (Penrith) ; Rev. Dr. Wilson (Dalston) ; Rev. T. H. 
Irving, Mr. W. Heelis (Hawkshead) ; Mr. F. Garnett (Winder- 
mere) ; Rev. Hugh Fleming (Rayrigg) ; Mr. E. L. Nanson 
(Whitehaven) ; Mr. Eric Stair Kerr (Edinburgh) ; Mr. G. Browne 
(Troutbeck) ; Mr. H. Bell (Ambleside). 

Mr. Arthur Tucker's steady comradeship in this joint en- 
deavour gave the writer many a happy day. 

The Concordance which concludes this work was cheerfully 
compiled by eleven ladies of Windermere. The Rev. R. E. Coles, 
of Woodstock, all for the love of Wordsworth common to every one 
engaged on this book, gave final revision to the Concordance, and 
also helped with other proofs. 




Inglewood Forest. — It is a curious thing that the British Museum 
Catalogue and Poole's Index to Periodical Literature do not contain 
reference to even one book or article on Inglewood Forest ; but the 
author has just learnt that Mr. F. H. M. Parker contributed papers 
on the subject to volumes v., vi., vii. and ix. of the Transactions 
of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian Society (New Series). 

Itinerary for Lakeland. — Any student (perhaps American ?) who 
comes fresh to Lakeland, and desires a hint as to an itinerary 
of study, is recommended the following course : — 

Buy the Oxford one-volume edition of Wordsworth's Poems 
for handy reference, and Myers's Life of Wordsworth (" Men of 
Letters " Series). Travel from London by Carnforth to Barrow 
(two or three hours for Furness Abbey), then proceed along the 
Cumberland coast, by Whitehaven, to Wordsworth's birthplace, 
Cockermouth. Next visit Carlisle and Penrith. Procure a map of 
the North, and on it draw a circle of a diameter of 1 5 miles, with 
Penrith for a centre. With this, ascend Penrith Beacon, and 
study out the problem of Wordsworth's Renouncement of Ingle- 
wood Forest. Visit the neighbourhood, including Ullswater ; 
(Penrith people are delightful : even the " common people " prove 
uncommon). Train by Oxenholme to Windermere, and thence 
straight on, by ferry and coach, to Hawkshead. A day or so there, 
and at Coniston. Back to Windermere ; thence, to Ambleside 
(mountains grow higher, northward), Grasmere, and Keswick. 
On the journey (best taken on foot) between Ambleside and 
Grasmere, contrive to see Rydal Mount (private residence) 
and Dove Cottage (open to visitors, who pay a small fee). ' 


Penrith Beacon. — Ann Radcliffe the novelist, in a Tour to the 
Lakes (1795), presents the world with an excellent chapter about 
the Penrith of Wordsworth's youth. From this chapter the following 
description of the Beacon is culled : — 

"The town, consisting chiefly of old houses, straggles along 
two sides of the highroad, and is built upon the side of a moun- 
tain that towers to great height above it, in steep and heathy 



knolls, unshaded by a single tree. Eminent on the summit of 
this mountain stands the old, solitary Beacon, visible from almost 
every part of Penrith. 

" The Beacon, a sort of square tower, with a peaked roof and 
openings at the sides, is a more perfect instance of the direful 
necessities of past ages, than would be expected to remain in this. 
The circumstances are well known which made such watchfulness 
especially proper at Penrith ; and the other traces of warlike habits 
and precautions, whether appearing in records or buildings, are 
too numerous to be noticed in a sketch which rather pretends to 
describe what the author has seen than to enumerate what has 
been discovered by the researches of others. Dr. Burn's History 
contains many curious particulars ; and there are otherwise abundant 
and satisfactory memorials as to the state of the debateable ground, 
the regulations for securing passes or fords, and even to the public 
maintenance of slough dogs, which were to pursue aggressors with 
hot trod, as the inhabitants were to follow them by horn and 
voice. These are all testimonies that among the many evils 
inflicted upon countries by war, that which is not commonly 
thought of is not the least ; the public encouragement of a 
disposition to violence, under the names of gallantry, or valour, 
which will not cease exactly when it is publicly prohibited ; and 
the education of numerous bodies to habits of supplying their 
wants, not by constant and useful labour, but by sudden and 
destructive exertions of force. The mistake by which courage 
is released from all moral estimation of the purposes for which 
it is exerted, and is considered to be necessarily and universally a 
good in itself, rather than a means of good or of evil, according 
to its application, is among the severest misfortunes of mankind." 


Micklebrows. — Information about this path, with other local 
knowledge, has been kindly afforded by Mr. J. Bolton of Cocker- 

Moresby Hall in the Olden Time, Whitehaven, 1875, now only 
to be got second-hand, is a little work of romantic local interest. 
Fletcher Christian, leader of the Bounty mutineers, and his 
brother Edward were born near Moresby, at Morland Close. 
Edward was Wordsworth's second head master at Hawkshead 
(only for a year) and died Professor of the Laws of England, 
in Downing College, Cambridge. 




Fenwick Note. — Wherever such a phrase occurs in this work, the 
reference is to Notes regarding his Poems dictated by Wordsworth, 
when he was seventy-five years of age, to his friend, Isabella Fenwick. 
They are to be found in Professor Knight's Edition of the Poems. 


" Curwens Island," Windermere. — Mr. Thomas English, in 1777, 
began the building of the present round house on this " holm." 
His treatment of the island aroused the resentment of the neigh- 
bourhood, and of writers like Hutchinson and Gilpin — and of 
Wordsworth himself. The Rev. John Robinson of Clifton, in his 
Guide to the Lakes (18 lp), says that Miss Curwen, who married 
her cousin, John Christian (he took his wife's name), bought 
the island from Mr. English's creditors "between thirty and 
forty years ago." West's Guide (3rd ed., 1784) says, "now 
the property of John Christian of Unerig." When the poet 
Gray crossed by the ferry, near this island, he was so nervous 
about storm and drowning, that he performed the voyage with 
his head completely enveloped in a sheet. Wordsworth, through 
one of his sons, became connected with the Curwens, and was 
fond of staying at the island. But it was often lent to honey- 
mooning couples, to his annoyance ; so he said it should be 
ranked as one of the Borrow-me-an Islands. 

"Meeting of the Ways." — The point near Hawkshead (see Map, 
p. 99) is suggested by Dr. Cradock as I, by Professor Knight as 2, 
by Canon Rawnsley as 3, by Miss Armitt of Ambleside as 4, and by 
Mr. Gordon Wordsworth as 5. 

Schoolmasters. — During Wordsworth's Hawkshead days, these 
were the head masters of the Grammar School : James Peake 
(1766-1781 : died Vicar of Edensor, Derbyshire) ; Edward Christian 
(1781); William Taylor (1781-1786); Thomas Bowman (1786- 


Peele Castle. — AtRampside,near Barrow-in-Furness, Wordsworth 
spent four weeks of 1794, in full view of Piel (or Peele) Castle, 
an edifice built on the small island of Foudry (Fudr-ey), by the 
monks of Furness Abbey in the reign of King Stephen. It is 
supposed that Foudry meant, in Norwegian, " Fire Island," so 
called because in far-off times it bore a beacon or lighthouse 
to guide Norse mariners on their course from Mona to Lancaster. 
What the Norman monks called their " Piel " would be intended 



as a fortified place of refuge and storehouse for church valuables, 
in case of land attacks on the Abbey. Foudry had a point next 
the open sea called Fouderness, where probably the light-house or 
beacon was placed. From " Fouderness " we have " Furness." 


The Address. — As late as 1843, Professor Henry Reed, of 
Philadelphia, urged Wordsworth to unravel the tangle of these 
enthralling poems, and this was the poet's reply : " The character 
of the Schoolmaster, about whom you enquire, had, like the 
Wanderer in the Excursion, a solid foundation in fact and reality, 
but, like him, it was also in some degree a composition. I will 
not, and need not, call it an invention — it was no such thing ; but 
were I to enter into details, I fear it would impair the effect of 
the whole upon your mind, nor could I do it at all to my own 


The Minstrels of Winandermere. — Farish's book was published 
(1811) by Cad ell & Davies, London. 

Wordsworth 's Early Presentation of Landscape. — Before An Even- 
ing Walk (1793) several English water-colourists had given proof 
of keen appreciation of beauty in lakes and their surroundings : 
for instance, Paul Sandby (1725—1809), "Landscape near a Lake" 
(1785). William Marlow (1740-1813) and Michael Rooker (1743- 
1801) and James Baynes (1766-1837) exhibit in their drawings 
much of Wordsworth's truthful affection for detailed reality. 
Philip De Loutherbourgh (a Pole, 1740-1812) executed many praise- 
worthy drawings of the Lakes. J. C. Ibbetson (connected with 
Sympson of the Excursion) also painted Lakeland views. Tom 
Girtin (1775-1802), teacher of Turner, rose in his genius for 
landscape pretty nearly contemporary with Wordsworth. See 
English Watercolour, by Holmes and Wedmore (1902). 

Evening Walk, 214. — "Fronting the bright west, yon oak 
entwines its darkening boughs." Have many noticed how, just 
after sunset, the hills recede in much of the landscape, and the 
trees come forward to take up their evening tale ? 

It is perhaps of some significance that Wordsworth's prose 
synopsis of An Evening Walk deals wholly with the landscape 
elements in the poem and does not refer to the human element 
in it. 


Raisley Calvert. — There is room to guess that although William 
Wordsworth complacently accepted Raisley Calvert's legacy as 

321 x 


wholly a homage to his genius, that gift may have been also a 
gentleman's tribute to the courage and rosy cheeks of Dorothy. 
In all the Lives, Wordsworth's account of the legacy and other 
kindred matters, as given to Sir George Beaumont, is reproduced 
in a puzzling form. The enigma is solved if we realise that the 
".£100, a legacy to my sister," is not a gift from Calvert, but a 
remembrance from one of the Crackanthorpes. 


Wordsworth inveighed against white houses among the Lakes. 
Yet he chose a white house, Dove Cottage, and it remained white 
while he lived in it, and he whitewashed it anew ere handing^it 
over to De Quincey. 


Statesman. — Dr. Murray's English Dictionary informs us that 
this designation (simply, Estate-man), though doubtless older in 
popular usage, enters literature in Annals of Balliston by Mary 
Leadbetter (1813). Miss Leadbetter applies the term to Words- 
worth's Quaker friend at Yanwath, Thomas Wilkinson, as "one 
who owns the fee-simple of his land, but works on it himself." 

The True Dalesfolk. — Mr. A. Craig Gibson, one of the shrewdest 
of the writers about Lakeland — and a dweller in the Dales — ex- 
pressed himself thus in his book entitled The Old Man (1849) : 

" By the way, it is remarkable that, notwithstanding all that 
has been scribbled anent the Lakes, we are yet without anything 
like a correct portraiture of the Dales-people. The narratives and 
traits of character in Mr. Wordsworth's works, though generally 
striking and beautiful, are, as regards the peasantry, mere emana- 
tions of poetic fancy, rather than true delineations of life and 
manners. The same may be said of Wilson. De Quincey's 
papers on the population of the Lake district are correct only 
so long as he confines himself to colonists of his own rank. 
When he comes lower, it is plain enough to those who know the 
aborigines, that he has only been permitted to study that (the 
most interesting) class in their Sunday faces and best behaviour, 
and that his observation there is rarely more than skin-deep." 

Wordsworth wrote to Charles James Fox, in 1801, that : The 
Brothers and Michael " were written with a view to show that 
men who do not wear fine clothes can feel deeply. . . . The 
poems are faithful copies of nature." This last phrase is both 
true and misleading. It is very doubtful whether those are right 
who claim that where Wordsworth delineates, he does so with 



exceptional fidelity. Rather it seems that, when he chose — as in 
Langdale noticing that the sun at a particular period of the year 
is seen to set between the Pikes — he can be exact'; but seldom 
did his mind make such a choice. That mind habitually tended 
to modify and rearrange its subjects of meditation. He tells 
us himself that he felt a positive antipathy to " chains of fact 
and real circumstance." The Brothers and Michael are only 
" faithful to nature " in the large sense that they nobly present, 
with an emphasis Wordsworth was unable to expose in any single 
life led in his neighbourhood, motives lying deep in the heart of 

Wordsworth's Aloofness. — " I once said to Matthew Arnold," 
says Lord Morley in his Life of Gladstone, " that I'd rather have 
been Wordsworth than anybody (not exactly a modest ambition) ; 
and Arnold, who knew him well in the Grasmere country, said, 
' Oh, no, you would not ; you would wish you were dining with 
me at the Athenaeum. He was too much of a peasant for you.' " 
Very characteristic. Wordsworth preferred Helvellyn at his 
back ; Matthew Arnold (' ' prince of connoisseurs/' as Goldwin 
Smith calls him), the Athenaeum. Homely as the companionship 
of mountains happily teaches all men to be, Wordsworth was no 
more a peasant than Matthew Arnold was. But Wordsworth 
never seemed to need companions. Even in his Dale studies, he 
is chiefly " travelling over his own mind," as Dr. Johnson puts it. 
So far from being " clubbable " was the poet (in spite of our 
peeps at him in Lamb's London rooms) that he writes to Lord 
Lonsdale (1812): I have "an utter inability to associate with 
any class or body of literary men, and thus subject myself to the 
necessity of sacrificing my own judgment, and of lending, even 
indirectly, countenance or support to principles, either of taste, 
politics, morals or religion, which I disapprove." The expression 
is ungracious : yet the principle perhaps justified itself — at any 
rate for a Wordsworth. Chaucer, Tennyson, and others have 
been cited as English poets truly loving the country, but, for 
good or evil, Wordsworth remains Nature's authentic Recluse in 
the story of our greatest singers. Hence it is that his voicing 
of " Nature " seemed at first unearthly and absurd to his own 
generation. His finest things made appeal to eyes and ears in- 
sufficiently trained by previous poetry. 

Seventy-four Tenants at Grasmere. — As some local historians tell 
us Queen Catharine had only thirty-nine tenements at Grasmere, 
the true number is noted on the authority of Mr. George Browne 
of Townend, Troutbeck. The Queen had two manor rolls, thirty- 
nine tenements on the first, and thirty-five on the other. 

Rather Hill. — The old authority from which part of this 
paragraph is taken says mistakenly that the place was " Ratten 



Hill," and that the number of the protesting statesmen was "two 
thousand." This seems a slip for " two hundred." One or two 
other writers say "over one hundred." 

This chapter has been compiled from oral accounts, and from 
many of the books mentioned at the beginning of these notes — 
with special indebtedness to an anonymous article of great charm, 
about " The Dalesfolk of Cumberland," in Frasers Magazine for 


Most of this chapter, of course, is a condensed arrangement of 
Wordsworth's more prominent thoughts on the Dales, and pretty 
much in the poet's own language. The best edition of the Guide 
is that edited for Frowde (1905) by Professor Ernest de Selin- 


Dread of Nature expressed in Old Ballads. — Alexander Smith 
points this out on p. 46 1 of A Summer in Skye. 

Echoes. — Among the 1800 Grasmere poems is To Joanna, in 
which the poet pretends to the Rector of Grasmere that he had 
heard Joanna Hutchinson's laugh by the river Rotha's side echoed 
by Helm Crag, Silver How, Loughrigg, Fairfield, Helvellyn, and 
away to answering Skiddaw. See Excursion (iv. 402) for a true 
description of a lamb's bleat echoed by many repeating crags. 
Wordsworth describes To Joanna as "an extravagance, though 
the effect of the reverberation of voices in some parts of the moun- 
tains are very striking." Richard Warner, in his Tour (1802), 
says : " The animated, enthusiastic, and accomplished Coleridge 
inspired us with terror whilst he described the universal uproar 
that was awakened through the mountains by a sudden burst of 
involuntary laughter in the heart of their precipices." 


Grasmere. — Dr. Channing, in 1822, sent home to America the 
following sketch of Grasmere Lake : 

" The lake has not left very definite traces of figure, &c, on 
my mind, for in such a scene the mind is not stimulated to analyse, 
the heart and the imagination are too absorbed for curious obser- 
vation. It is rather circular, and wants the multiplied diversities 
of outline, the points, bays, and recesses of Windermere ; and this 
perhaps aids the effect, for the eye is not excited to wander in 



search of beauties half hid in the mazy openings. The soul is free 
to receive an unmixed impression from the simple harmonious 
scene. When it is said that the surrounding mountains are bold, 
some precipitous, and one of them a rugged steep seamed with 
storms and strewed with rocky fragments, it may seem strange 
that the lake can have the character of mild repose which is 
ascribed to it ; but, spreading as it does in a circle, it so parts the 
surrounding mountains that they cannot be grouped as if they 
bordered a narrower stream, and thus they become subordinate 
accompaniments to, instead of being the chief feature of, the 
prospect. Then the immediate shore of the lake is level and 
verdant, and blends singularly with the peaceful water. This is 
particularly true with respect to the vale, properly so called, which 
spreads between the head of Grasmere and Helm Crag, whose 
surface is almost as unbroken as the lake, and which, clothed as it 
is with the freshest verdure, varied by hedgerows, and combining 
with its natural beauty the most affecting tokens of humanity by 
its simple cottages and Gothic church, communicates an inexpres- 
sible character of peace and benignity, and of gentle and holy 
sweetness to the whole scene/' 

Channing from Grasmere paid a visit to Wordsworth at Rydal 
Mount. " I could not but think of the amusement I should have 
afforded you, could you have taken a peep at me. I had spent Sunday 
morning at Grasmere, and in the afternoon, being unable to attend 
church, I resolved to visit Mr. Wordsworth, who resides two miles 
and a half from the inn. Unluckily, Grasmere, whilst it supplied 
the wants of the imagination and heart most abundantly, could 
not supply me with any vehicle for the body more easy or dignified 
than a cart, dragged by a horse who had caught nothing of the 
grace of the surrounding scene. 

" After an interview of great pleasure and interest I set out to 
return, and, unwilling to lose Mr. Wordsworth's company, I accepted 
his proposition that we should walk together until I was fatigued. 
At the end of half a mile my strength began to fail, and finding 
my companion still earnest in conversation I invited him to take 
a seat with me, which he did, and in this state we re-entered the 
delightful valley." 

John Wordsworth. — In the Memoirs of John Wilson (" Christo- 
pher North ") we read : 

" Wordsworth and his brother came hither across the hills 
when John was about to join his ship for the last time, and here 
[Grisdale Scar] they halted before their last farewell. They talked 
over their future plans of happiness when they were again to 
meet. As their last act, they agreed to lay the foundation-stone 
of a little fishing hut, and this they did with tears. They parted 
there in that dim and solemn place recommending each other to 
God's eternal care." 




Nature and Man. — Shakespeare cared far more for Man than for 
Nature : Bacon (in his own way) cared far more for Nature 
than for Man. Nature to him was not a mystery, but a definite 
problem that Man would eventually work out clearly. These 
two gigantic minds, in their attitudes, serve well to show us 
what position Wordsworth took up : what he made of Man, 
and what of Nature. 

Ruskin tells us how, in the enjoyment of a landscape in 
the Juras, he endeavoured to imagine the scene deprived of its 
human associations. [The Lake Country has made little history, 
and the Highlands of Scotland have made much : Wordsworth's 
poetic task was thus much more difficult than Scott's.] Ruskin 
says : 

u The flowers in an instant lost their light, the river its music ; 
the hills became oppressively desolate ; a heaviness in the boughs 
of the darkened forest showed how much of their former power 
had been dependent upon a life which was not theirs, how much 
of the glory of the imperishable, or continually renewed creation, 
is reflected from things more precious in their memories than 
it in its renewing." 

In the Spectator for August 20, 1Q 10, appeared a deeply 
suggestive article written upon this theme by one who dwells at 
the foot of the Mount Cook range of hills in New Zealand : 

" There is no sign of habitation ; it is the mighty mountain 
forms that summon the attention, not their scanty human associa- 
tions (and this is as your true mountaineer would have it, putting 
ever still above himself the peaks that he has climbed), and 
the poor human surnames incongruously allied with these so 
non-human presences are devitalised by their own inadequacy, 
and seem merely meaningless. This ocean of the snows, in 
brief, is so great, the barque of human adventure on it so 
small, that the effect upon the mind at gaze is that of a quite 
shipless sea, a solitude utterly inviolate. Yes, let us admit it 
fully ; let us consider it in detail, and confess the complete 
fact. Man has no influence here. In such a scene as this, surely 
if anywhere, are to be found the conditions that Ruskin con- 
templated. It remains to be asked : What, for man, is the 
sum of them ? What is the effect of such a landscape upon 
its actual, as distinguished from its imaginary, spectator ? Is 
its lack of human association, its detachment from human in- 
terest, in reality so chilling and desolating, so very awful ? Awe- 
inspiring, possibly, not awful ; chilling and desolating not at 
all. To the writer, at least, it appears that this separateness, 



this aloofness, of the Southern Alps constitutes perhaps their 
greatest attraction and their chief value to man. For it widely 
instructs him ; it enlarges immensely the horizons of his under- 
standing and of his inner life. In presenting to him Nature 
(that other half of what Fechner calls the Earth-Soul, at any 
rate that other sharer with him of this planet), thus isolated 
and distinct from him and his occasions, it reveals her to him 
as an integral whole, a true existence, an individual something 
in terms of her own self, not only of his. How often do we 
think of Nature so ? As man's slave, his tool, his convenience ; 
his nurse, his consoler, 

f To all always open, 
To all always true ' ; 

as his ' feeder with lofty thoughts/ his spiritual admonisher, his 
witness to the divine — in all these capacities (the rank of them 
rising, be it observed, step for step with the ennobling of man's 
needs) Nature, ' inanimate Nature,' as he calls her, has been 
often recognised and duly valued; but how often in her own 
right is she recognised and valued because she is herself? And 
yet to exchange the former view of her for the latter is like 
taking that great step up out of mere gratitude to a friend for 
services performed and benefits received, into a comprehension 
and a love of that friend's faculties and character as they are 
in themselves, above and past the limits of our needs. It is to 
become cfasmterested — a mental stage often as far beyond that 
of being interested as the latter beyond that of being wrainterested 
— and, in paradoxical consequence, to grow far richer. It is to 
gain a new world, because a new view of the world. Not morally 
precisely, not exactly intellectually, but spiritually, vitally perhaps, 
we seem amid these soaring snows ourselves to rise — to attain 
from virgin mid-air peaks of our own being vast new breadths 
of vision enabling us to discern, what? That man is not the 
only real entity on earth ? That Nature, ' inanimate Nature,' 
is also a Soul ? That the universe is nowhere mere dead matter, 
but alive throughout, bright Spirit everywhere ? In the solitudes 
of the sea one sometimes suspects this. In these unpeopled 
precincts of Aorangi one is sure of it. 

"B. E. B." 

It is hoped that the writer of that passage, should he ever 
chance to hear of his being quoted on our page, will pardon 
this borrowing from his memorable paper. 

We can hardly doubt that Wordsworth's Cockermouth ecstasies 
were of this order of communion with Nature, Man almost apart. 
He was then a God-intoxicated Boy. This almost paroxysmal 



exaltation of spirit through the senses belonged in a marked 
degree to Thomas Traherne, many of whose pieces, particularly 
The Preparative and The Vision, are like Wordsworth thoughts 
heated seven times over, till the limits of reason seem approached. 
These poems are too long to quote here, but The Instruction may 
be presented. It comes at least as near to explaining Wordsworth's 
childhood as anything we have from Vaughan the Silurist. 


Spue out thy filth, thy flesh abjure 
Let not contingents thee defile, 
For transients only are impure, 
And aery things thy soul beguile. 

Unfelt, unseen, let those things be 
Which to thy spirit were unknown, 
When to thy blessed infancy 
The world, thyself, thy God was shown. 

All that is great and stable stood 
Before thy purer eyes at first : 
All that in visibles is good, 
Or pure, or fair, or unaccurst. 


Whatever else thou now dost see 
In custom, action, or desire, 
'Tis but a part of misery 
In which all men at once conspire. 


The " Prelude." — In the garden of Mrs. Fletcher of Lancrigg 
much of this poem was dictated. These are the words of Mrs. 
Fletcher's daughter, Lady Richardson : 

" The Prelude was chiefly composed in a green mountain 
terrace, on the Easdale side of Helm Crag, known by the name of 
Under Lancrigg, a place which he used to say he knew by heart. 
The ladies sat at their work on the hillside while he walked to 
and fro on the smooth green mountain turf, humming out his 
verses to himself, and then repeating them to his sympathising 
and ready scribes, to be noted down on the spot and transcribed 
at home." 



Dove Cottage is thus remembered by De Quincey : " A little 
semi-vestibule between two doors prefaced the entrance into what 
might be considered the principal room of the cottage. It was an 
oblong square, not above eight and a half feet high, sixteen feet 
long, and twelve broad, wainscoted from floor to ceiling with 
dark polished oak, slightly embellished with carving. One window 
there was, a perfect and unpretending cottage window, with 
little diamond panes, embowered at almost every season of the 
year with roses, and in the summer and autumn with a profu- 
sion of jasmine and other shrubs. ... I was ushered up a little 
flight of stairs, fourteen in all, to a little drawing-room, or what- 
ever the reader chooses to call it. Wordsworth himself has 
described the fireplace of this room as his 

( Half-kitchen and half-parlour fire.' 

It was not fully seven feet six inches high, and in other respects 
pretty nearly of the same dimensions as the rustic hall below. 
There was, however, in a small room, a library of perhaps three 
hundred volumes, which seemed to consecrate the room as the 
poet's study and composing room, and which occasionally it was. 
But far oftener he both studied, as I found, and composed on the 
highroad." Wordsworth gives an account of his moods at Dove 
Cottage in the four sonnets entitled Personal Talk. When he 
temporarily left Dove Cottage in 1802 to be married to Mary 
Hutchinson he wrote the poem entitled The Farewell. The 
orchard of the cottage is drawn for us in The Green Linnet, To a 
Butterfly, The Redbreast Chasing the Butterfly, The Kitten and the 
Fallen Leaves, and Lines written in my Pocket Copy of Thomson's 
" Castle of Indolence." 

The Wordsworths contemplate Hawkshead and Keswick as Places 
of Residence. — From some of Dorothy Wordsworth's letters to Mrs. 
Clarkson, as given in The Athenceum for January 23, 1904, these 
passages are extracted : 

" Parkhouse, January 6th, 1805. 

" We now have little thought of leaving our cottage till Cole- 
ridge's return, which surely will not be long — we shall go wherever 
he goes — and why may not you be near us too ? " 

" April 19th, 1805. 
" We look forward to Coleridge's return with fear and painful 
hope — but indeed I dare not look to it — I think as little as I can 
of him. Oh, my dear Friend, my heart seems to be shut against 
worldly hope ! Our poor John was the life of the best of all our 
hopes. I seek to be resigned to the will of God, and find my 
comfort in his innocent life, and noble death. These contempla- 
tions strengthen my inner convictions of the glory of our Nature, 
and that he is now in blessedness in peace." 



" Coleorton, November 6th, 1806. 
" Coleridge said he could not come to Kendal just to see us and 
then to part. Notwithstanding this, however, we resolved to see 
him and wait one day at Kendal for that purpose : accordingly we 
sent off a special messenger to Keswick to desire him to come over 
to us ; but before 7 o'clock that evening he himself arrived at an 
Inn, and sent for William. We all went thither to him, and never, 
never did I feel such a shock as at first sight of him ... I can- 
not forgive myself, but I must not take up my paper with regrets 
and self-accusations but go on with my tale. We stayed with him 
from Sunday evening till Tuesday morning at 9 o'clock, we (that 
is Mary and I), but Sarah H. and Wm. did not part from him till 
the morning following. Alas, what can I say, I know not what to 
hope for or what to expect ; my wishes are plain and fair, that he 
may have strength of mind to abide by his resolution of separating 
from Mrs. C. and hereafter may continue unshaken, but his misery 
has made him so weak and he has been so dismally irresolute in 
all things since his return to England that I have more of fear 
than hope. . . . All we could gather from him was that he must 
part from her or die and leave his children destitute and that to 
part he was resolved. We would have gone back to Grasmere 
and taken a house near Hawkshead (Belmont) " [home of Rev. 
Reginald Braithwaite, then alive], " but this he was against, and 
indeed it would have been worse than useless ; for he gave us a 
promise to come to us in a month, and if he do part, the farther 
the better." 

" February \lth, 1807. 
" Coleridge has determined to make his home with us ; but 
where ? There is no house vacant in the North, and we cannot 
spend another winter in the cottage, nor even a summer with 
Coleridge and his two Boys, therefore how can we go again into 
the North this summer ? Besides there would be something very 
unpleasant (not to say indelicate, for that in a case of necessity might 
be got over) in going so near to Mrs. Coleridge immediately after 
their separation ; for, after she has been with C. at Ottery, she 
intends to return to Greta Hall and remain there as long as the 
Southeys do. At present, after the short consideration we have 
given the matter, it seems as if we ought to seek out a ready- 
furnished house in this neighbourhood or further South. Coleridge 
has an idea that Southey intended leaving Keswick in the autumn, 
in which case, he wished to have the house, and we consented to 
take it, though very, very reluctantly, Mary and I having many 
objections to Keswick ; and a hundred more to taking Mrs. C.'s 
place in that house." 



No doubt the objections Dorothy and Mary felt to living in 
Keswick simply arose from a general feeling against towns. No 
town could be surrounded by more beauty than Keswick, and 
William Wordsworth, writing to Prince Leopold in 1819, tells that 
traveller that he should visit Keswick as well as Grasmere and 
Ambleside — for the views from General Peachy's House upon 
the Island, and from Friar's Crag, and from the Vicarage of 

Allan Bank. — See the sonnet about this house (1815), entitled 
Even as a Dragon's Eye that feels the Stress. 

Grasmere Parsonage. — Dorothy writes to Mrs. Marshall : " Rydal 
Mount, Thursday Morning, 1813. Arrived yesterday. The 
weather is delightful, and the place a paradise ; but my inner 
thoughts will go back to Grasmere. I was the last person who 
left the house yesterday evening. It seemed as quiet as the 
grave, and the very churchyard, where our dead lie, when I gave 
a last look upon it, seemed to cheer my thoughts. Then I could 
think of life and immortality. The house only reminded me of 
desolate gloom, emptiness, and cheerless silence." 

Rydal Mount. — The best description of Rydal Mount is to be 
found in Christopher Wordsworth's Memoirs, chap, iii., but it is too 
detailed to quote here. Crabb Robinson says of the house : 
" It is so situated as to afford from the windows of both sitting- 
rooms a direct view of the valley with the head of Windermere 
at its extremity ; and from a terrace in the garden, a view into 
Rydal Water, and the winding of the valley in that direction. 
These views are of very different character, and at different 
periods of the day must supply the deficiencies of each other, 
arising from superabundance or want of light. . . . Wordsworth 
himself alludes to the beauty of the situation as being backed 
and flanked by lofty fells, which bring the heavenly bodies to 
touch the earth, as it were, upon the mountain tops, while the 
prospect in front lies open to a length of level valley, the ex- 
tended lake, and a terminating ridge of low hills, so that it 
gives an opportunity to the inhabitants of the place of noticing 
the stars in both the positions here alluded to, namely, on the 
tops of the mountains, and as winter-lamps at a distance among 
the leafless trees." One has to remember this situation in reading 
the lines which Wordsworth wrote as a general preface to his 
Collected Works. They begin : 

{< If thou indeed derive thy light from heaven, 
Then, to the measure of that heaven-born light, 
Shine, Poet ! in thy place, and be content." 

A view of a projecting point of Loughrigg seen from the windows 
of Rydal Mount forms the subject of one of the Miscellaneous 



Sonnets beginning, " Aerial Rock " ; another view is given in the 
sonnet beginning, " Wansfell." The Far Terrace in Rydal Mount 
grounds is referred to in one of the Inscriptions beginning, " The 
Massy Ways." The Far Terrace ends at a little gate, beyond 
which there is a spring — the Nab Well, from which the water- 
drinking poet's glass was filled at meal time. The general sur- 
roundings of Rydal Mount are depicted in the poem with the 
following lumbering title, Composed when a Probability existed of 
our being obliged to quit Rydal Mount as a Residence. 

The Waggoner. — The circumstances set out in this poem were 
vouched by the Southeys as being correct. The Waggoner's real 
name was Jackson : honest, frugal, yet generous (and a great lover 
of books), he became tenant of Greta Hall and let half of it to 
Coleridge. See Sara Coleridge's eulogy of The Waggoner, in 
Knight's edition. 

The Packman of the "Excursion." — Coleridge, in the Biographia 
Literaria, asks : 

" Is there one word attributed to the pedlar in the Excursion 
characteristic of a pedlar ? — one sentiment that might not more 
plausibly, even without the aid of any previous explanation, have 
proceeded from any wise and beneficent old man, of a rank or 
profession in which the language of learning and refinement are 
natural and to be expected ? Need the rank have been at all 
particularised, where nothing follows which the knowledge of 
that rank is to explain or illustrate ? " 

In November 1844 (as Miss Arnold of Foxhow reminds the 
present writer), Wordsworth came up to Cambridge and stayed 
some days with Dr. Whewell, then Master of Trinity. Arch- 
deacon Hare asked him to call on Daniel Macmillan, and he 
paid several visits to the shop, especially one long one in which 
he dwelt on the influence Scotland had on him in early life, and 
said he had sought in the Excursion to bring out the spiritual life 
of Scotland, which he thought had never been adequately sung 
by any of her poets, who had mainly confined themselves to the 
humanities (Memoir of Daniel Macmillan, by T. Hughes, Q.C.). 

Excursion, ii. 263-314 — Sacred Function Renounced. — It is a 
wonder that Wordsworth could put forth these lines without fear- 
ing that they would be taken by many as too applicable to his 
friend Coleridge. 

Excursion, ii. 375 — The Funeral Psalm. — Wordsworth en- 
joined it on his family that " should it befall him to die at Rydal 
Mount, his body should be borne to Grasmere Church on the 
shoulders of neighbours, no house being passed without some 
words of a funeral psalm being sung at the time by the attend- 
ants bearing it." This solemnity is still observed occasionally in 
the secluded hamlet of Troutbeck. 



Excursion, ii. 650 — The Solitary's Home. — Here Wordsworth 
appears to roll into one Hackett Cottage at Colwith and Blea 
Tarn Cottage. Similarly (v. 79), he compounds Langdale Valley 
and Grasmere Valley, and converts a Langdale mansion into a 
Grasmere Parsonage. In book ii. 690, geographical truth gives 
way to imagination, apparently, for the " lusty twins "- (Lang- 
dale Pikes) could not be seen, as described, from the cottage 
window. Grasmere Church (v. 138) is generally regarded as 
made up by the poet from three churches, those of Grasmere, 
Bowness, and Hawkshead. The surroundings given to the 
Grasmere Parsonage in book viii. 440 are mostly imaginary, 
corresponding neither to the environment of the real Rectory 
nor to that of the Hackett house which was combined with the 
Rectory in the poet's picture. In book ix. 495, Grasmere is 
given two islands, one of which, "with birch trees fringed," is 
imported from Rydal Water ; and the lily of the valley is men- 
tioned as growing here, whereas it was only to be found at 

Readers who have become at all interested in the exposition 
of Wordsworth's thought attempted in " Wordsworthshire " may 
care to have by them the following references to a few of the 
most significant utterances in the Excursion. That involved 
character, the Solitary, perhaps expresses his truest note in 
the address to Autumn, book iii. 307. A passage in the same 
book, 820-869, has a double interest, indicating revulsion from 
the frenzy of the French Revolution, and vaguely yet curiously 
raising in the reader's mind thoughts of the famous project for 
Pantisocracy, and of the Ancient Mariner. In book iv. 32-65, 
there is an expansion of My Heart leaps up : at 79-102, the 
thought suggests Traherne, and the Ode from Recollections ; and 
the immediately succeeding passage, 102-122, should be compared 
with the Prelude, v. 38 ; and the echoed bleat of the lamb, 402, 
is true "Wordsworthshire"; while the longing for a body 
spiritualised (508-539), is to be noted in connection with 
Dorothy's jotting on our page 276 ; the Wanderer's speech (540-549) 
emphasises the poet's constant recurrence to early impressions 
at Cockermouth ; in lines 779-833, there is a noble idealisation 
of the pastoral life; nor must the Raven episode, 1156-1187, 
be passed over, for it is a sublime expansion of Dorothy's note 
on our page 255. In book v. we have a subtle pronouncement 
on Ritual, 309-330; at 601-621 a Tolstoyan eulogy of spade 
and plough; and a definition of Life as Love, 1012-1016. In 
book vi., the description of a passion-struck man seems to deal 
with the unknown hero of " 'Tis said that some have died of 
love." In book viii., 305-334, there is a remarkable contrast 
between the education of the City Boy and that of the Country 



Boy, which bears on Wordsworth's own history, as revealed in our 
quotation on page 84. This must be reckoned as idealism, perhaps, 
and should be studied side by side with the Recluse's biting 
speech, 416-433. The opening of the ninth book may be taken 
as Wordsworth's Apologia; lines 81-92 give Matthew Arnold 
his theory of a "Stream of Tendency " ; lines 113-128, with their 
protest against any economic organisations that make man "a. 
tool," will interest Tolstoyans ; the fame of Wordsworth's plea 
for Elementary Education, 293-335, cannot justly be discounted 
by any disappointment we may feel at the results flowing from 
Mr. W. E. Forster's Act of 1870.' The point from which The 
Pastor delivers the closing Rhapsody is supposed to be half-way 
up the northern side of Loughrigg Fell. 

No doubt there is something in what Hazlitt wrote about 
the Excursion ; " Every object is seen through the medium of 
innumerable recollections, and clothed with the haze of imagina- 
tion, like a glittering vapour. The image is lost in sentiment, 
as sound in the multiplication of echoes." 

Betty Yewdale (Youdell), fifth book of the Excursion, lived at 
Hackett Farm ; it was she who dictated to Southey an account 
of how she and her sister ran away home to Langdale from Dent, 
when she was " between sebben an' eight year auld, and Sally 
tweea year younger." This story Southey published in The Doctor. 
As Mr. A. Craig Gibson declares it " the best specimen of our 
local dialect, and infinitely superior to the well-known Borrowdale 
letter," the reader may care to glance through this extract : 

" It was quite dark afore we gat to Ammelside yat — our feet 
warr sair, an' we warr nearly dune for — an' when we turnt round 
Windermer Watter heead t' waves blasht sea dowly that we 
warr fairly heart-brossen. We sat down on a cauld steean an' 
grat sair — but when we hed hed our belly full o' greeting, we 
gat up an' dreed on agean — slaw enough, ye may be sure, but 
we warr i' kent rwoads .... We began ta be flayet at my fadder 
an' mudder wad be angert at us for running away. It was tweea 
o'clock in t' mwornin' when we gat to our awn duir. I ca'd out 
'Fadder, fadder! Mudder, mudder!' ower an' ower agean. 
She hard us, an' sed ' That's our Betty voice ! ' ' Thou's nowt 
but fancies, lig still,' sed my fadder — but she waddent, an' sea 
gat up an' open't duir, an' thear warr we stannin' dodderin' an' 
daized wi' cauld, as nar deead as maks nea matter. When she 
so us she was warr flay't than we — she brast out a-crying, an' 
we grat, an' my fadder grat an' o', an' they duddent flyte nor 
sed nowt tull us for running away." 

Characters in the e< Excursion." — An expert familiar with the dis- 
trict has carefully searched both the Grasmere Church registers and 
local tradition with regard to these dramatis personce. The following 



notes are the result of this investigation. Nothing known of the 
Wanderer (i. 38), the Solitary (ii. 155), the Grasmere Pauper 
(ii. 738), the Somerset Bride (iii. 480), Henry VIII.'s Knight 
(v. 180). The Knight of Charles II.'s time (v. 186) may be Sir 
Daniel Fleming of Rydal Hall, 1633-1701. Elizabeth Youdell 
(v. 692) died at Rydal, Jan. 14, 1834, aged 64; and Jonathan 
Youdell died at Rydal, 1841, aged 79; both buried at Grasmere. 
They had formerly lived at Hackett, where before them lived a 
family called Oldfield. The Hawkshead Youth (vi. 102) and 
the Patterdale Miner (vi. 212) are not known. Drummond and 
Vandeput (vi. 392) are not named in the Registers of Grasmere, 
Hawkshead, or Bowness. The Female Miser (vi. 675) may be 
Agnes, wife of John Fisher, Townend, buried Jan. 9, 1804, or Mary 
Fisher of Townend, spinster, buried June 7, 1808 ; of course 
Agnes is the more likely. John Fisher of Townend worked for the 
Wordsworths and was buried April 3, 1820, aged 74. No trace of 
the Miser's Son (vi. 675), or of the Hawkshead Girl (vi. 786), or 
of Wilfred Armathwaite (vi. 1079), or of the Widower (vi. 1116), or 
of the second Widower (vi. 1200). The Reverend Joseph Sympson 
(vii. 55) lived at Broadrain, the house close to the road on the right- 
hand side where the Raise ascent begins. It still belongs to the 
Vicar of Wythburn. Sympson's wife Mary was buried Jan. 27, 1 806 ; 
Sympson was buried July 2, 1807. Elizabeth Jane, daughter of the 
Sympsons, married Julius Caesar Ibbettson of Ambleside. No trace of 
the Woodcutter (vii. 550). The Greens (vii. 632) are almost the 
largest landowners in Grasmere. They lived at Pavement End, 
written Padmire End in the old Registers. Mrs. Green's present 
house, close to the old one, is called Goldrill Side. Margaret, 
" wife of John Green of Padmire," was buried December 15, 1792 ; 
and her grandfather, John Green of Padmire End, senr., aet. 82, 
was buried April 10, 1806. There are many Dawsons (vii. 695) ; 
" Oswald " may be George, son of John Dawson of Ben Place, 
buried June 24, 1807. " Oswald's " prodigal brother may be John 
Dawson, buried July 1796. "Sir Alfred Irthing " is perhaps Mr. 
Knott, whose family acquired much property in Grasmere, Rydal, 
and Coniston. The Knotts did not give any bells to the church, 
though there is an inscription on one of the bells, " Recast at the 
expense of Mrs. Dorothy Knott, 1809." 

Duddon Sonnets. — Sonnet xxvi. is Wordsworth's childhood 
epitomised. The succeeding sonnet aims at a gloom contrasting 
with the joy of xxvi., and therefore it brings before us the melan- 
choly ruins of a feudal castle that never existed in Duddon Valley. 
Note the artistic motive for this creation : 

" Its line of Warriors fled : — they shrunk when tried 
By ghostly power." 



Then xxviii. and xxix. lead us to the spiritual peace and power 
represented by the unassuming burial-ground of the Quakers. 

Wordsworth's Views about Soldiers. — We must not neglect the 
fact that Wordsworth does turn occasionally — as in the uninspired 
Waterloo, and the inspired Happy Warrior, and in a prose passage 
of his Letter on the Kendal and Windermere Railway — specifically to 
praise soldiers who defend Liberty. 

The Danish Boy. — Cumberland (so far as it is not Anglo-Saxon) is 
more Danish than Norse in stock. Westmorland is more Norse than 
Danish. The Danes swept over Cumberland from the East Coast. 
The Norse came from Mona, chiefly by Furness. The chain of hills 
running westward from Tebay to Wrynose always made a 
strong barrier between these two peoples, who differed in their 
language and their customs, and still differ. Cumberland and 
Westmorland never united for any purpose. It is only in the 
region of poetical geography that we are able to combine them 
as " Lakeland/' or " Wordsworthshire." 

Whatever Wordsworth originally had in his mind when he 
penned The Danish Boy, that enigmatical poem assumes a new 
meaning when, facing west, we read it by the source of the 
Duddon, at the boundary-mark between Cumberland and 


[As published in Lyrical Ballads, 1800. 

Between two sister moorland rills 

There is a spot that seems to lie 

Sacred to flowerets of the hills, 

And sacred to the sky. 

And in this smooth and open dell 

There is a tempest-stricken tree ; 

A corner-stone by lightning cut, 

The last stone of a cottage hut ; 

And in this dell you see 

A thing no storm can e'er destroy, 

The shadow of a Danish Boy. 

In clouds above, the Lark is heard, 
He sings his blithest and his best ; 
But in this lonesome nook the Bird 
Did never build his nest. 
No Beast, no Bird hath here his home ; 
The Bees, borne on the breezy air, 



Pass high above those fragrant bells 
To other flowers, to other dells, 
Nor ever linger there. 
The Danish Boy walks here alone : 
The lovely dell is all his own. 

A Spirit of noon day is he ; 
Yet seems a Form of flesh and blood ; 
A piping Shepherd he might be, 
A Herd-boy of the wood. 
A regal vest of fur he wears, 
In colour like a raven's wing ; 
It fears not rain, nor wind, nor dew ; 
But in the storm 'tis fresh and blue 
As budding pines in Spring ; 
His helmet has a vernal grace, 
Fresh as the bloom upon his face. 


A harp is from his shoulder slung : 
He rests the harp upon his knee ; 
And there in a forgotten tongue 
He warbles melody. 
Of flocks and herds both far and near 
He is the darling and the joy ; 
And often, when no cause appears, 
The mountain ponies prick their ears, 1 
— They hear the Danish Boy, 
While in the dell he sits alone 
Beside the tree and corner-stone. 

When near this blasted tree you pass, 
Two sods are plainly to be seen 
Close at its root, and each with grass 
Is cover'd fresh and green. 
Like turf upon a new-made grave, 
These two green sods together lie ; 
Nor heat, nor cold, nor rain, nor wind 
Can these two sods together bind, 
Nor sun, nor earth, nor sky. 
But side by side, the two are laid, 
As if just sever' d by the spade. 


There sits he ; in his face you spy 
No trace of a ferocious air, 
Nor ever was a cloudless sky 
So steady or so fair. 

1 On Wrynose pack-horse track ? Herds of ponies were never in those 
days pastured on these Western hills. 

337 Y 


The lovely Danish Boy is blest 

And happy in his flowery cove : 

From bloody deeds his thoughts are far ; 

And yet he warbles songs of war ; 

They seem like songs of love, 

For calm and gentle is his mien ; 

Like a dead Boy he is serene. 

In his old age the poet told Miss Fen wick that The Danish 
Boy was " entirely a fancy." When first published in Lyrical 
Ballads it followed A Poet's Epitaph, which is " entirely a fancy " 
also. Yet A Poet's Epitaph has a profound autobiographical 
significance among Wordsworth's early writings. Both of the 
poems here mentioned belong to the Goslar period (1799)' The 
Danish Boy was published first in the very year in which Cumber- 
land Wordsworth began living in Westmorland. 

With both of these Goslar pieces compare the Alfoxden piece 
of 1798, in which " Matthew " addresses the young poet : — 

u Why, William, on that old grey stone, 
Thus for the length of half a day, 
Why, William, sit you thus alone, 
And dream your time away ? " 

Again, compare, in The Danish Boy, the helmet "with a 
vernal grace," and " one impulse from a vernal wood " in The 
Tables Turned (1798), and that with A Poet's Epitaph : — 

" The outward shows of sky and earth, 
Of hill and valley he has view'd ; 
And impulses of deeper birth 
Have come to him in solitude." 

Once more, compare The Danish Boy with the Second Part of 
Hart-Leap Well (1800) :— 

" The moving accident is not my trade : 
To freeze the blood I have no ready arts : 
'Tis my delight, alone in summer shade, 
To pipe a simple song to thinking hearts." 

Finally, notice that this peace-loving Youth reappears as a Swiss 
Boy at the end of the 1822 poem called The Italian Itinerant and the 
Swiss Goatherd. 

As there may be young students handling this book, the 
writer takes the liberty of pointing out to them the immense 
debt all who love Wordsworth owe to the indefatigable labours 



of Professor Knight. Although it has not been used for the 
present work, Professor Knight's Life of Wordsworth in three 
volumes (1889, Edinburgh) is the mine of information about the 
poet. Professor Knight's eight- volume edition of the Poems (Mac- 
millan), with many notes, is, to the writer's mind, a more grate- 
ful set of volumes to handle than Professor Dowden's scholarly 
edition in seven volumes (also Macmillan). Professor Dixon 
contributes a valuable introduction to well-chosen Poems of 
Wordsworth (Messrs. Jack). Several of Canon Rawnsley's well- 
known books — such as Literary Associations of the Lake District 
(Maclehose) — contain interesting matter about the poet. Professor 
Raleigh's power of selecting the significant was never better shown 
than in his searching yet sympathetic criticism, Wordsworth 
(Edwin Arnold, 1903). 

For an obvious reason, the framers of the following Concordance 
of Wordsworthshire avoided using Mr. J. R. Tutin's Dictionary of 
Wordsworth, a useful Analysis published by the compiler at 



Showing Persons and Places belonging to Wordsworthshire, as 
referred to in the Oxford University Press single-volume 
complete edition of Wordsworth's Poems. 

[With a view to a possible re-issue of this little Dictionary, corrections 
and additions are invited.] 

1 ' Abergavenny, Earl of " (" ship " : To 

the Daisy), 679 (9) 
Airey Force ("torrent hoarse": 

xlvi. Itin. Poems), 478 (3) (28) ; 

("leafy glen" : Airey Force Valley), 

184(4), 479 (154) 
"Allan," Ashburner (Repentance), 116 

Allan Bank (xxv. Miscell. Sonnets), 266 

Ambleside {Tour in Italy), 353 (30); 

(town : xliii. Miscell. Sonnets), 282 
"Andrew " {Oak and Broom), 155 (1); 

(To a Sexton) 157 (12) 
" Anna " (Liberty), 527 (2) 
Anne, Countess of Pembroke (" Lady ": 

xxiv. Yarrow Revisited), 393 
Appleby (xxiv. Yarrow Revisited), 393 
Appleby Castle (" keepeth watch": 

Song at Brougham Castle), 204 (46) 
Apple thwaite, Keswick ("Dell": iv. 

Miscell. Sonnets), 251 
Armathwaite, Wilfred (Excursion, vi. ), 

845 (1078) 
Ashburner, Margaret (Repentance), 116 


Barton Fell (" the moor " : Resolution 
and Ind.), 195 (15) 

Bateman, Richard (Michael), 135 (258) 

Beaumont, Sir George (iv. Miscell. 
Sonnets), 251 ; (ix. Miscell. Sonnets), 
252 ; (ii. Tour in Italy), 358 ; (i. 
Miscell. Poems), 521 ; (i. Inscrip- 
tions), 546 ; (Elegiac Stanzas), 578, 

Beaumont, Lady (xviii. Miscell. Son- 
nets), 264 

Bega, St. , see St. Bees 

Bekangs Ghyll ( " Vale of Nightshade " : 
Prelude, ii.), 643 (103) ; (Prelude, x.), 
727 (598) 

" Bell, Adam " (xxi. Yarrow Rev.), 393 
" Bell, Peter" (Peter Bell), 238 (170); 

(xviii. Miscell. Sonnets), 254 
"Benjamin" (Waggoner), 173 (23) 
" Bess " (Peter Bell), 238 (176) 
Black Comb ( ' dread name " : View 

from the Top of Black Comb), 218(2); 

("heights of": xii. Itin. Poems), 

468 (1); ("huge": i. Miscell. 

Poems), 521 (5); ("seat": vi. 

Inscriptions), 548 (2) 
Blackett, Miss (" Inmate " : To ), 

217 (1) 
Blake Rigg ("those ramparts": Ex- 
cursion, iv.), 808 (494) 
Blea Tarn ("among yon mountain 

fastnesses ": Excursion, ii. ), 774 ( 156); 

("liquid pool": Excursion, ii.), 776 

(338) ; (" yon pool " : Excursion, iv. ), 

808 (457) 
Blea Tarn House (" our bare dwelling ": 

Excursion, ii.), 776 (339); ("the 

cottage": Excursion, ii.), 781 (638); 

("cottage": Excursion, ix. ), 895 


180 (46); 

204 (90) 
Borrowdale (" fraternal four of B " : 

Yew Trees), 185(14) 
Borwick Ground ("meeting-point of 

two highways " : Prelude, xii. ), 738 

Bowscale-tarn (S. at Brougham Castle), 

205 (123) 

Bowness ("within the crescent": 

Prelude, ii.), 644 (139) 
Brai thwaite, George (" man that keeps 

the ferry " : Waggoner), 179 (123) ; 

(" Ferryman " : Prelude, iv.), 658 

Braithwaite, Rev. R. ? (Address) 577 
Braithwaite, Rev. W. (Lines), 22 (8) ; 

("studious friend": Prelude, v.), 

666 (51) 

mountain ( Waggoner), 
(S. at Brougham Castle), 



Brigham, Nun's Well(viii. Itin. Poems), 

465 (7) ; (" walls " : ix. Itin. Poems), 

465 (2) 
Brother's Water ("the lake": Written 

in March), 190 (4). 
Brough-under-Stainmore, Castle (S. at 

Brougham Castle), 204 (44) 
Brougham Castle (S. at Feast of), 203 ; 

("monastic castle": Prelude, vi.), 

678 (205) 
Broughton (" Druid stones " : Evening 

Walk), 594(171) 
Buttermere (" maid of " : Prelude, vii.) 

691 (297) ; (" mountain chapel " : 

Prelude, vii.), 692 (324); Fish Inn 

(Prelude, vii.), 691 (305) 

Calvert, Raisley (xxxvi. Miscell. Son- 
nets), 259; {Prelude, xiv.), 751 (355) 

Carrock Fell (S. at Brougham Castle), 
204 (73) 

Cartmell Churchyard (Prelude, x.), 
726 (533) 

Cartmell Sands (Prelude, ii.), 644 (137) ; 
(Prelude, x.), 726 (561) 

Castrigg (Waggoner), 180 (61) 

Chapel Island (Prelude, x.), 726 (555) 

Chapel stile ("yon village green": 
Prelude, viii.), 699 (5); ("wake": 
Excursion, ii. ), 773 (120) 

Cherry Tree Inn ("dinning from the 
C. T." : Waggoner), 176 (22) 

Claife (" open heights " : Prelude, i.), 
636 (311) 

Clifford, Lord (The Borderers), 43 (345) ; 
(Waggoner), 180 (48); (S. at 
Brougham Castle), 204 (23) 

Clifford, Margaret ("Mother": S. at 
Brougham Castle), 204 (54) 

" Clym of the Clough " (xxi. Yarrow 

Cockermouth ("my birth place": 
Prelude, i.), 636 (303); ("my father's 
house": v.), 672 (477); ("domains 
of rural peace": viii.), 700 (73); 
("a poor district": ix.), 712 (215); 
("home": xii.), 738 (291) 

Cockermouth Castle (" Spirit of " : 
vii. Itin. Poems), 464; ("those 
towers " : Prelude, i.), 636 (283) 

Coleridge, Hartley (To H. C), 88 

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor (Advertise- 
ment to Prelude), 631 ; (Prelude, i.), 
632 (46); ii., 642 (1); hi., 653 
(309) ; iv., 659 (78) ; v., 668 (181) ; 
vi., 678 (198) ; vi., 678 (228) ; vii., 
687 (12); vii., 691 (296); viii., 704 
(340); ix., 709 (7); x., 721 (235); 
xi., 731 (282) ; xii., 735 (44) ; xiii., 744 
(299); xiv., 750 (276); (Preface 
1814 Ed. Excursion), 754 (40) ; 
(Death of James Hogg), 586 (16); 

(Stanzas), 107 (1); (iv. Poems on 

Naming of Places), 148 (6) 
Coleridge, Sara (" Last of the Three " : 

The Triad), 222(174) 
Colthouse, Esthwaite (Prelude, iv.), 

659 (33) 
Colwith, Hackett Cottage ("one bare 

dwelling " : Excursion, ii.), 776 (339) ; 

("the cottage": Excursion, ii. ), 781 

Conishead Priory ("famed temple": 

Prelude, ii.), 643 (101) 
Coniston Lake ("Thurston Mere": 

Prelude, viii.), 706 (459) 
Coniston mountains (Excursion, ii. ), 

Coniston Old Man (Prelude, iv.), 663 

Corby, Nunnery Dell (xii. Itin. Poems), 

476 (13) 
Corby, Wetheral Church ("sculpture 

here " : xxxix. Itin. Poems), 476 (3) 
Crossfell ("stormy": Prelude, vi.) 

678 (209) 
Crossfell, Chain of (" Pennine Alps " : 

xii. Itin. Poems), 476 (2) 
Crosthwaite Church ("less simple dis- 
tricts": Excursion, vi. ), 847 (624); 

(xvii. Epitaphs), 587 
Cuthbert, St., see St. Cuthbert 

Dale End, Grasmere ? ("green pas- 
ture " : Excursion, v. ), 832 (642) 

Dawson, Oswald (Excursion, vii. ), 868 

Dawson (" Prodigal " : Excursion, vi. ), 
842 (287) 

Derwent, River (" hoary " : An Even- 
ing Walk), 591 (3); (Guilt and 
Sorrow), 28 (199) ; (" loved stream " : 
v. Itin. Poems), 464 (1) ; ("flowing 
near " : viii. Itin. Poems), 465 (5) ; 
("fairest of all": Prelude, i.), 636 
(270) ; (" murmuring stream " : 
Prelude, v.), 673 (484); (Prelude, ix.), 
715 (393) 

Derwent Water (" listen to the roar " : 
Evening Walk), 2(3); ("the lake " : 
xv. Inscriptions), 551 (18); (Float- 
ing Island), 531 (10) 

Derwent Water, Island on, the Hermi- 
tage ("quiet spot": xv. Inscrip- 
tions), 551 (5) 

Donnerdale ("merry pranks of": 
xiii., River Duddon), 379 ; (the plain 
of : xx. River Duddon), 381 

Drummond ("a chieftain " : Excursion, 
vi.) 844 (413) 

Duddon, River (Sonnets to Duddon 
River), 375; ("Cerulean" : i. Eccles- 
iastical Sonnets), 418; ("neighbour- 
ing vale " : Excursion, vii. ), 862 (315) 



Dungeon Ghyll (Idle Shepherd Boys), 84 

Dunmail, King {Waggoner), 176 (210) 

Dunmail-Raise (Michael), 133 (134) 

(Waggoner), 174 (100), 175 (140) 

(" outlet " : Excursion, vii. ), 858 (49) 

("agap": Excursion, vii. ), 859(142) 


Eamont, River ("banks of": Pre- 
lude, vi.), 678 (204, 211); (S. at 
Brougham Castle), 203 (2); ("fair 
house by " : S. at Brougham Castle), 
204 ; ( To the Spade of a Friend), 489(2) 

Easedale (Michael), 133 (134); 
( " black recess " : xxiv. Miscell. 
Sonnets), 266 (3); ("mountain 
cove": Excursion, ix. ), 894 (688); 
("brook": xxxi. Miscell. Sonnets), 

Eden, River (S. at Brougham Castle), 
204 (47); (xxxviii. Itin. Poems), 
476 (1); (xli. Itin. Poems), 476 

" Eglamore, Sir " (xlvi. Itin. Poems), 
478 (24) 

Egremont (The Brothers), 100 (311), 
102 (428) 

Egremont Castle (Horn of Egremont 
Castle), 535 (8) 

"Ellen" (The Childless Father), 120 
(18); (Excursion, vi. ), 850 (816) 

"Emma" ("a Jewel": xlvi. Itin. 
Poems), 478 (14) 

Emma's Dell ("name of E.'s D." : 
Poems on Naming of Places), 146 (47) 

Enna River (The Brothers), 100 (311) 

Ennerdale (" church " : The Brothers), 
95(12); ("priest of": The Brothers), 
95 (16) 

Esk, River (The Borderers), 38 (62); 
(The Borderers), 46 (479) 

Eskdale (Borderers), 95 (16) 

Esthwaite ("my E.'s shore": An 
Evening Walk), 591 (15) ; ("trembling 
lake " : Influence of Natural Objects), 
89 (20); ("pleasant shore": vi. 
Poems on Naming of Places), 150 (67) ; 
(Expostulation and Reply), 481 (13); 
(An Evening Walk), 591 ( 15) ; ( " that 
beloved Vale": Prelude, i.), 636 
(304) ; (" trembling lake " : i.), 638 
(420); ("fields of ice" : i.), 640 
(539) ; (" one dear Vale " : ii.), 645 
(197) ; (" our little lake " : ii.), 647 
(331); ("Vale yet slumbering": 
ii.), 647 (344) ; (" our little lake " : 
iv.), 660 (138); (" narrow vale " : 
iv.), 661 (199); ("in the Vale": 
iv.), 664 (384); ("sweet valley": 
v.), 672 (428); ("misty lake": 
v.), 674 (563) ; vi., 675 (1) ; x., 725 
(524) ; heading to Lines), 22 

" Evening Star, The " (name of 

cottage: Michael), 133 (139) 
" Ewbank, Walter " (Brothers), 98 ( 200) 
" Ewbank, Leonard" (Brothers), 99 (249) 

Fairfield (To Joanna), 147 (60); 
("high peaks": Excursion, ix. ), 885 
(59); (Waggoner), 182(234); (Amble- 
side : xxx. Tour in Italy), 353 (30) ; 
(To the Lady Fleming), 534 (86) 

Fawcett ("Solitary," "lay preacher" ; 
Excursion, ii.), 774 (159) 

"Fell, Alice" (Alice Fell), 82 (43) 

Fell Foot ("small opening": Excur- 
sion, ii. ), 776 (335) ; (" small chapel " : 
Excursion, ii. ), 784 (814) 

Fisher, George (Rural Architecture), 86 

Fleming, Charles (Rural Architecture), 

Fleming, John ("a dear friend": 

Prelude, v.), 674 (561) 
Fleming, Lady (" O lady": To the 

Lady Fleming), 533 (11) 
Fleming, Rev. J. (" a friend " : Prelude, 

ii.), 647 (333) 
Fleming, Sir William (Inscriptions, 

vii.), 549 (2) 
Fletcher, Mrs. William ("Anna": 

xiii. Miscell. Sonnets), 273 (1) 
" Foy, Betty " (The Idiot Boy), 126 (8) 
Furness Abbey (xlvii. Miscell. Sonnets), 

283 ; (xlviii. Miscell. Sonnets), 283 ; 

(Prelude, ii.), 643 (103) ; (Prelude, ii.), 

644 (120) ; (Prelude, x.), 727 (598) 
Furness Fells (i. Miscell. Sonnets), 250 

" Gale, Susan " (The Idiot Boy), 126 ( 18) 
" Geraldine " (x. Poems of Affection), 

Ghimmer Crag (Waggoner), 180 (21) 
Glaramara (To Joanna), 147 (64); 

(Yew Trees), 185(33) 
Glencoign (Tour in Italy), 353 (49) 
Glenderamakin (S. at Brougham Castle), 

204 (92) 
Glenridding-screes (Tour in Italy), 353 

Glow-worm Rock (Primrose of the Rock), 

224 (1) ; (Inscriptions), 550 (9) 
Goldrill (Excursion, vii.), 867 (637) 
Gough, Charles (Fidelity), 491 (39) 
Gough, John (Excursion, vii. ), 864 (486) 
Gowbarrow Park (Poems of Imagina- 
tion, xii.), 187 
Gowdar's head (Epistle to Beaumont), 

523 (111) 
Grasmere, Dove and Olive Bough Inn 

( Waggoner), 174 (53); ("lonely 



island " : An Evening Walk), 591 (9) ; 
( "old church -steeple " : Westmoreland 
Girl), 94 (59) ; (" our whole vale " : 
Farewell), 106 (4); ("peaceful 
Vale " : vi. Naming of Places), 150 
(3) ; (" peaceful lake " : vi. Naming 
of Places), 151 (91); ("happy! 
Vale " : Naming of Places), 151 ( 110) ; I 
("the vale": To the Cuckoo), 183 
(9) ; (" chosen vale " : xxiii. Miscell. 
Sonnets), 256 ; (" the lake " : xxiv. 
Miscell. Sonnets) 266(6); ("distant 
home " : xxii. Tour on Continent), 
340 ; (" lovely dale " : xxvii. Tour 
on Continent), 344 ; (" green vale " : 
v. Evening Vol.), 455 (31); ("hushed 
vale " : vii. Evening Vol.), 456 (11) ; 
("shadowy vale": xiii. Evening 
Vol.), 460 (9) ; (" own dear Vale " : 
Epistle to Beaumont), 524 (164); 
(" mother church " : On the same 
Occasion), 534 (4); ("Vale": On 
the same Occasion), 534 (4) ; (" our 
Village": v. Inscriptions), 547 (6); 
("this Vale": vii. Inscriptions), 
648(22); ("Vale": Lines on Fox), 
581 (1) ; (" fairest spot on earth " : 
Nature's Invitation), 621 (3) ; (" a 
known Vale " : Prelude, i.), 633 (72) ; 
(" one neighbourhood " : Prelude, i.), 
633 (111); ("this deep Vale": 
Excursion, v.), 824 (122); ("church- 
yard" : Excursion, v.), 824(134); 
("sacred Pile": Excursion, v.), 824 
(138); ("fertile valley": Excursion, 
v.), 828 (412); ("crystal lake ": Excur- 
sion, v.), 836 (920); (" churchyard 
among the mountains " : Excursion, 
vi., vii.), 838, 857 ; (" deep valley " : 
Excursion, vii. ), 863 (404) ; (" native 
Vale" : Excursion, vii.), 868 (722) ; 
("smooth lake": Excursion, ix. ), 
892 (574) ; (" crystal mere " : Excur- 
sion, ix. ), 894 (701); Allan Bank: 
xxiv. Miscell. Sonnets), 266 (11); 
(The Wishing Gate), 223 (18); 
("church clock knell"), 223 (67); 
("old steeple tower": To Joanna), 
147 (20); ("reverend Pile": 
Excursion, ix. ), 895 (725); ("this 
churchyard": George and Sarah 
Green), 623 ; {Fly some kind Har- 
binger), 294; ("green pasture": 
Excursion, v.), 83? (642); ("yon 
house": Excursion, v.), 832 (643); 
Dove Cottage ("little nook": A 
Farewell), 106 (1); ("wall": 
Kitten and Falling Leaves), 170 (3) ; 
("orchard seat": Green Linnet), 
169 ; (" here " : To the same Flower), 
158 ; (" my cottage " : vi. Naming 
of Places), 150 (8) ; (" peaceful 
home": Stanzas), 107 (10); 
(" orchard ground " : To a Butter- 

fly), 106 (10) ; (xvi. Tour in Scotland), 
294 (4) ; (" humble cot " : Nature's 
Invitation), 622 (7) ; (" one cot- 
tage" : Prelude, i.), 633 (74) ; (" my 
hermitage": i.), 633 (107); ("our 
cottage": viii.), 705 (410); (Gold- 
rill side (Excursion, vii.), 867 (637); 
Island on (An Evening Walk), 591 
(9) ; Island, outhouse on (v. In- 
scriptions), 547 (1); John's Grove 
("grove and field " : To a Daisy), 
580 (64); ("by the shore": A 
Farewell), 106 (9) ; (iv. Naming of 
Places), 148 (5) ; (The Blind High- 
land Boy), 297 (188); ("these 
waters " : v. Independence and 
Liberty), 313 ; (i. Miscell. Poems), 521 
(1); (Nature's Invitation), 622 (36); 
(Excursion, ix. ), 884; ("homeless 
pensioner ": Excursion, ii. ), 783 (744); 
Pavement End ("Gold -rill side": 
Excursion, vii.), 867 (637) ; Rectory 
(" gloomy house " : To Joanna), 147 
(21) ; (" that house " : Excursion, v. ), 
824 (99); ("my dwelling": Ex- 
cursion, viii. ), 874 (29); (vii. Naming 
of Places), 151 ; ("Mother Church " : 
On the same Occasion), 534 (4) ; 
( " churoh tower " : Excursion, v. ), 823 
80) ; ("crystal mere ": Excursion, v.), 
823 (82) ; Swan Inn (Waggoner), 174 
(88) ; The Clipping Tree (Michael), 
133 (169) ; (Michael), 131 (40); (vi. 
Naming of Places), 151 (73); (i. 
Miscell. Poems), 521 (2) ; (Elegiac 
Verses), 580 (25); (Departure), 284 
(19); ("our Valley ": Stanzas), 107 
(12); White Moss ("hill": Wag- 
goner), 174 (35) ; (Resolution and 
Independence), 196 (52) ; (" mother's 
grave " : Excursion, vi.), 850 (792) ; 
("the torrent " : Westmoreland Girl), 
93 (11) 

Great Dodd (Airey Force Valley), 
184 (5) 

Great Gable (The Brothers), 100 (310) 

Great How (Rural Architecture), 86 (4) 

Green ("seven lusty sons": Excur- 
sion, vii.), 867 (636) 

Green, George (George and Sarah 
Green), 623 

Green, Sarah (George and Sarah 
Green), 623 

Green, Margaret ("daughter": Ex- 
cursion), 867 (638) 
I Greenhead Ghyll ( " tumultuous brook " : 
Michael), 131 (2) 

Greenside Fell, near Helvellyn (Tour 
in Italy), 352 (48) 
' Greenwood, Robert ("minstrel of the 

troop " : Prelude, ii.), 644 (168) 
'Greta, River (Waggoner), 180 (17); 
(iv. Itin. Poems), 464 (1); (Prelude, 
ix.), 715 (393) 




Hackett cottage ("shining speck": 

Excursion), 832 (672) 
Hamilton's Grounds (The Childless 


Hammar-Scar (To Joanna), 147 (57) 

Hardknott (" Camp on " : xvii. River 
Duddon), 380 

Hatfield, James (" the spoiler " : Pre- 
lude, vii.), 691 (299) 

Hawkshead ("School": heading to 
Extract), 1; ("village clock": In- 
fluence of Natural Objects), 89 (31) ; 
("Beloved Vale": iii. Miscell. 
Sonnets), 250; ("dear vale": v. 
Epitaphs), 578 (60) ; (School Exer- 
cises), 618; ("Ye lowly cottages": 
Prelude, i.), 639 (499); ("market 
village " : ii.), 642 (35) ; (" lurking 
town": iv.), 658 (24); ("grassy 
churchyard": v.), 671 (392); 
"distant home": x.), 727 (601); 
("antique market village": Ex- 
cursion), 757 (53); ("petty town": 
Excursion, vi), 844 (407) ; (" far-wind- 
ing Vale " : Excursion, vi. ), 844 (409) ; 
(Nutting), 185 ; (" famous brook " : 
Prelude, iv.), 659 (51); ("snow white 
church": Prelude, iv.), 658 (21); 
(Grammar School : Matthew), 486 
(20) ; (Scholars : v. Epitaphs), 577 
(1) ; (" happy roof " : School Exer- 
cises), 619 (66); Sans Keldin 
("rendezvous": Prelude, iv.), 663 

Helm-crag (To Joanna), 147 (56); (Wag- 
goner), 175 (168); ("black recess": 
xxiv. Miscell. Sonnets), 266 (3) ; 
("mountain-cove " : Excursion, ix. ), 
894 (688); ("Stone": x. Miscell. 
Sonnets), 262 

Helvellyn (xiii. Poems of Affection), 
110 (8); (To Joanna), 147 (61); 

(Waggoner), 176 (8); (To ), 217 

(3); ("brow severe": xxvii. Tour 
on Continent), 344 ; (" top " : Tour 
in Italy), 353 (37); ("depths": 
xlvii. Itin. Poems), 480 (6) ; (" bosom 
of" : Fidelity), 491 (21); (Prelude, vi.), 
678(208); (viii.), 699 (1); ("old": 
viii.), 700 (68); ("silent tarn": 
Fidelity), 491 (20); (Musings), 353 

Herbert, St. 

Hilbeck (S. 

Holehouse Gill (" dim retreat " : xxv. 
River Duddon), 382 

Holme, Nanny ("Old Dame": Pre- 
lude, ii.), 642 (43) 

Holme, Thomas (" gentle Dalesman " : 
Excursion, vii.), 863 (400) 

Horrocks, Miss (Tour on Continent), 333 

, see St. Herbert 
at Brougham Castle), 


Hutchinson, Joanna (To Joanna), 147 

Hutchinson, Mary (" for One " : A 
Farewell), 106 (25) ; (To M. H. : v. 
Naming of Places), 149; ("two 
adventurous Sisters " : vii. Naming 
of Places), 151; ("Phantom": 
viii. Poems of Imagination), 186 ; 
( " another maid " : Prelude, vi.), 678 
(224) ("A maid": Prelude, xii.), 
736 (151) ; (" loved one " : Prelude, 
xii.), 738 (262); ("one whom": 
Prelude, xiv.), 750 (267) 

Hutchinson, Sarah ("two adventurous 
Sisters " : vii. Naming of Places), 
151; ("To S. H." : xx. Miscell. 
Sonnets), 255 ; (" Sister " : xxix. 
Miscell. Sonnets), 258 

Hutchinson, Thomas ("nuptials": 
xxiii. Miscell. Sonnets), 256 

Inglewood Forest (xxi. Yarrow Rev. ), 392 
Ings (Michael), 135 (269) 
Irish Sea (River Duddon), 375 
Ironkeld (" craggy ridge " : Prelude, 

i.), (70) 
" Irthing, Sir Alfred " : Knott (Excur- 
sion, vii.), 872 (971) 
" Isabel " (Michael), 132 (79) 
" Ivor Hall " (Simon Lee), 483 (2) 

Jackson ("Benjamin": The Wag- 
goner), 173 
Jackson, Ruth ("the housewife": 

Excursion, ii. ), 783 (741) 
" James " (Idle Shepherd Boys), 85 (42) 
" James " (The Brothers), 99 (272) 
"Jane" (The Brothers), 95 (16); (To 
a Sexton), 157 (30) ; (The Blind 
Highland Boy), 295 (3) 
Jewsbury, Anna (Liberty), 527 (2) 
Joanna (Joanna's Rock), 148 
" Johnny " (The Idiot Boy), 126 (11) 
John's Grove : ( " favourite grove " : Pre- 

lude, vii.), 687 (44) 
Jones, Andrew (/ hate that A. J.), 621 
Jones, Ralph (Rural Architecture), 86 

Jones, Robert (A Character), 482; (De- 
scriptive Sketches), 617 (810) 

Kendal Road ("a dreary moor": 

Prelude, iv.), 658 (4) 
Kendal & Windermere Railway (xiv. 

Miscell. Sonnets), 282 
Keswick (Waggoner), 181 (123); Croa- 

thwaite Church (Inscriptions), 587 (2) 



Keswick Road ("length of road": 
Excursion, vii. ), 858 (43) 

Kiasty Pike (" tall pike " : The Brothers), 
97 (139) 

Kirkoswald (The Borderers), 46 (511) 

Kirkstone ("misty head": To Jo- 
anna), 147 (65) ; (" fraternal hills " : 
Pass of Kirkstone), 214 (4) 

Knott, "Sir Alfred Irthing" (Excur- 
sion, vii.), 872 (971) 

Lady Holme ("third small Island": 

Prelude, ii.), 643 (62) 
Lancelot, Sir (Waggoner), 180 (47) 
Langdale ("glade": viii. Miscell. 
Sonnets), 252 ; (" ample vale " : 
Excursion, ii. ), 772 (91); ("wide 

Lonsdale, Earl of (xlv. Itin. Poems), 
477 (1); (Excursion Dedication), 
753 ; (Lines), 538 (8) 

Lonsdale, Countess of ("Lady": 
Lines), 538 (1); ("Augusta": 
Lines), 539 (22) 

Lorton (" Vale " : Yew Trees), 184 (1) 

Loughrigg (To Joanna), 147 (59) ; 
("mountain " : xx. Miscell. Sonnets), 
255; ("parapet " : vi. Miscell. Son- 
nets), 261; (" lofty crags " : Excursion, 
viii.), 863 (413); ("grassy mountain" : 
Excursion, ix.), 893 (609); ("Aerial 
rock " : xi. Miscell. Sonnets), 253 ; 
(" Diana's looking glass " : Epistle), 
524 (166) ; ("flowery slope " : Ex- 
cursion, ix. ), 890 (420) ; ("hill side " : 
Excursion, ix. ), 892 (570) 

" Louisa" : (Joanna Hutchinson ? : 
Louisa), 108 (1) 

vale": Excursion, ii. ), 776 (318); I Low Furness, Bekangs Ghyll ("Dell 

("little vale": Excursion, ii. ), 784 
(870); ("churchyard": Epitaph), 
577 (11); (" lowly vale " : Excursion, 
ii. ), 776 (328); ("head": viii. Mis- 
cell. Sonnets), 252 ; (xiv. Miscell. 
Sonnets), 263 ; (" huge hill tops " : 
Excursion, ii. ), 776 (325); ("two 
huge peaks " : Excursion, ii. ), 782 
(692) ; (" the valley " : Idle Shepherd 
Boys), 84 (1) 

" Lee, Ruth " ("his wife " : Simon Lee), 
483 (38) 

"Lee, Simon" ("old man": Simon 
Lee), 483 (3) 

Le Fleming, Sir William (vii. Inscrip- 
tions), 548 (8) 

Legberthwaite Dale ("Magog of": 
Rural Architecture), 86 (12) 

" Leonard " (" rock of " : The Foun- 
tain), 488 (69) 

Leven, River ("ample estuary": 
Prelude, x.), 725 (515) 

Lewthwaite, Barbara (The Pet Lamb), 
87 (13) 

Lily Holme ("Sister Isle": Prelude, 
ii.), 643 (59) 

Lingmoor ("brown hill " : Excursion, 
ii.), 773 (127) ; (" a steep ascent " : 
Excursion, ii. ), 776 (334); ("crag 
to crag " : Excursion, ii. ), 777 (404) ; 
(" those ramparts " : Excursion, ii. ), 
808 (494); ("dark mountain": 
Excursion, v.), 832 (671); ("the 
crag": Excursion, ii. ), 786 (27); 


Excursion, ii. ), 


(" dreary 

776 (324) 
Liza, River ("Leeza's banks 

Brothers), 100 (310) 
Lloyd, Owen (Epitaphs), 577 (5) 
Lodore ("high " : An Evening Walk) 

591 (3); ("cataract of": xv 

Inscriptions), 551 (18) 
Long Meg (xliii. Itin. Poems), 477 

of Nightshade " : To the Lady 
Fleming), 533 (15) 

Lowther, Lady M. ("Lady": xvii. 
Miscell. Sonnets), 264 

Lowther Castle ("majestic pile": 
xliv. Itin. Poems), 477 (1); 
("towers": Lines), 539 (22); 
(" fair domain " : Excursion Dedica- 
tion), 753 

Lowther, River ("wild stream": 
Lines), 539 (23); ("margin of the 
stream": Prelude, vi.), 678 (206); 
(Excursion Dedication), 763 

Low Wood ("Rill": vi. Miscell. 
Sonnets), 251 

Lucie, Herbert (Horn of Egremont 
Castle), 535 (18) 

Lucie, Sir Eustace ("Sir Eustace": 
Horn of Egremont Castle), 535 (3) 

" Lucy " : (x. Poems of Imagina- 
tion), 187 (1) ; (xi. Poems of 
Imagination), 187 (3) ; (Among all 
Lovely Things), 622 

" Luke " (Michael), 132 (103) 


Mackereth, Sarah ("house of": Ex- 
cursion, v.), 832 (643) 
Mackereth, Sarah, of Grasmere ("a 

The Westmore- 

cottage maiden " : 

land Girl), 93 (9) 
" Margaret " (Excursion), 763 (498) 
Margaret, Countess of Cumberland 

(xxiv. Yarrow Rev.), 393 
Marshall, Cordelia (xlvii. Itin. Poems), 

480 (2) 
"Matthew." See Taylor. 
Monkhouse, Mary ("Bride": xxiii. 

Miscell. Sonnets), 256 ; (" infant " : 

xvi. Miscell. Sonnets), 274 
Monkhouse, Mr. and Mrs. (Tour on 

Continent), 333 



Moore ("Wanderer " : Excursion, i. ), 

Morecambe Bay : (Prelude, iv.), 663 

(326) ; (Excursion, vii. ), 866 (603) 
Moresby Vicarage (" unfinished house " 

Epistle), 521 (22) 
Mosedale ("groves of": S. at 

Brougham Castle), 204 (89) 
Murfitt, Vicar of Kendal (Lines), 582 



Nab-Scar (" I saw a crag " : Oak and 
Broom), 156 (11); ("the moun- 
tain " : xxix. Poems of Imagination), 
209 (1); ("tall rock": To the 
Clouds), 229 (3) 
Nathdale Fell (Waggoner), 180 (37) 
Nightshade, Vale of, see Bekangs Ghyll 
Nicholson, Thomas ( " murderer " : Pre- 
lude, xii.), 737 (235) 
Nott Houses (" clustering cottages " : 
Excursion), 872 (968) 



Oldfield, Mrs. ("Hostess 
525 (250) 

Old Man, Coniston ("western moun- 
tain " : Prelude, ii.), 645 (185) 

" Pastor " (" reverend Pastor " : Ex- 
cursion), 829 (441) 

Patrick, James ("Wanderer," Kendal 
pedlar : Excursion, i.), 756 (33) 

Peele Castle (Suggested by), 578 

Pembroke, Countess of, see Anne, C. 
of P. 

Pendragon Castle (S. at Brougham 
Castle), 204 (40) 

Penrith (Hartshorn Tree : xxii. Yarrow 
Rev.), 393; ("straggling burgh": 
Excursion, viii.), 875 (101); ("Mar- 
garet": Affliction of Margaret), 116 
(38) ; (" Old " : xxv. Yarrow Rev.), 
394; Cow Rake Quarry ("bottom": 
Prelude, xii.), 737 (235) ; Beacon 
(Prelude, hi.), 651 (168); (Prelude, 
xii., 737 (228, 235) 

Pillar Mountain (" The Pillar " : The 
Brothers), 101 (368) 

Point Rash Judgment (iv. Naming of 
Places), 149 (80) 

Poole, Thomas (" Michael " : Michael), 
131 (41) 


Quillinan, Jemima (xi. Misctll. Son- 
nets), 272 (1) 

Quillinan, Rotha (xviii. Misctll. Son- 
nets), 274 ; (To a Child), 538 


Raincock, William ("There was a 
Boy " : Fenwick Note to Prelude, 
v.), 671 (364) 

Raven Crag (Waggoner), 180 (19); 
("naked crag": Prelude,!.), 637(335) 

Ricketts, Anna, (Fenwick note, " They 
who have seen " : vii. Tour in 
Italy), 359 

" Robert " (wedded Partner " : Ex- 
cursion, i. ), 764 (520) 

Roman roads ("massy ways": ix. 
Inscriptions), 549 (1) 

Rotha, River (To Joanna), 147 (31) ; 
(" stream " : xviii. Miscell. Sonnets), 
275 ; (" stream " : Prelude, ix.), 715 
(392); ("sweet brook" : An Evening 
Walk), 593 (85); ("full river": 
Excursion, ix. ), 885 (68) 

Rowlandson, Mr. (" curate " : Epistle), 
523 (131) 

"Ruth " (Ruth), 192 (1) 

Rydal (An Evening Walk), 591 (8) ; 
("mere": Waggoner), 174 (30); 
("chapel: To the Lady Fleming), 
533 (22) ; (Cove : To the Lady 
Fleming), 534 (86) ; (Falls, " small 
cascade " : An Evening Walk), 593 
(79); ("Glow-worm Rock": xliii. 
Poems of Imagination), 224 ; ( " Glow- 
worm Rock " : xi. Inscriptions), 

550 (9) ; (heights : Waggoner), 175 
(140) ; (Mere, " fairer than Tempe " : 
v. Evening Vol. ), 455 ; (xi. Miscell. 
Sonnets), 272 ; (Island : vii. In- 
scriptions), 548(1) ; (" brisk waves": 
xv. Miscell. Sonnets), 254 ; (" here " : 
v. Evening Vol.), 455 (14); ("the 
lake": To the Lady Fleming), 533 
("silvery lake": Excursion, ix. ), 
890 (421); ("rocky isle": Ex- 
cursion, ix. ), 891 (495) ; (xiii. Evening 
Vol.), 460; ("this platform": 
The Longest Day), 90 (14) ; (The Red- 
breast), 143 ; (xi. Miscell. Sonnets), 
253 ; (xlii. Miscell. Sonnets), 281 ; 
(i. Itin. Poems), 463 (4) ; (" pool 
in grounds of " : Liberty), 527 ; 
(ix. Inscriptions), 549 (5) ; (In- 
scription on a Rock at Rydal Mount), 

Rydal Park (The Haunted Tree), 219 ; 
("water in the woods": Prefatory 
Lines (v.) 


St. Bees (Stanzas), 466 (9) 

St. Cuthbert (The Borderers), 41 (199) ; 
("fellow-labourer": xv. Inscrip- 
tions), 551 (15): (White Doe), 403 

St. Herbert's Cell (xv. Inscriptions), 

551 (7) 



St. John, Vale of ("hawthorn dell " : 
Waggoner), 180 (16) 

St. Mary's Abbey (Prelude, ii. ), 104 ; 
(Prelude, x.), 598 

Saddleback ( " Blencathara " : Wag- 
goner), 180 (46) 

Sandys, Archbishop (introduction to 
School Exercise), 618 

Sans Keldin (Prelude, iv.), 663 (339) 

Sawrey (" familiar hill" : Prelude, iv.), 
658 (17) ; (" long ascent " : Prelude, 
iv.), 664 (379) 

Sawrey Beck ("that murmured": 
Prelude, iv.), 664 (384) 

Scawfell ("heights of": xii. Itin. 
Poems), 468 (1); (Prelude, vii.), 
687 (7) 

Seathwaite (chapel : xviii. River 
Duddon), 380; ("dependent cha- 
pelry " : Excursion, vii.), 862 (347) ; 
(churchyard: Excursion, vii.), 862 

Seat-Sandal (Waggoner), 176 (230); 
(Tour in Italy), 353 (36) 

Shelter Crags (Excursion), 776 (325) 

Shore, Reginald (Rural Architecture), 
86 (1) 

Silver -How (To Joanna), 147 (58) ; 
(vi. Naming of Places), 151 (91) ; 
("black recess": xxiv. Miscell. 
Sonnets), 266 (3) 

" Simon " (To a Sexton), 157 (14) 

Skiddaw (The Childless Father), 120 (4) ; 
(" blew his speaking-trumpet " : To 
Joanna), 147 (62); (Waggoner), 180 
(34) ; (iv. Miscell. Sonnets), 251 ; 
(v. Miscell. Sonnets), 251 ; (Grave 
of Burns), 285 (40) ; ("top of" : In- 
scriptions), 587 (16); ( " lofty height " : 
Prelude, i.), 636 (295) 

" Solitary " (Fawcett and Scotch 
Chaplain, " One " : Excursion, ii. ), 
774 (159) 

Solway ("mossy waste": The Bor- 
derers), 48 (609) 

Southey (Inscriptions), 587 (2) 

Stone Arthur? ("lofty crags": Ex- 
cursion, vii.), 863 (413); ("high 
peaks": Excursion, ix. ), 885 (69); 
("an eminence": iii. Naming of 
Places), 148 (1) 

"Susan" (To a Sexton), 157 (27); 
(Reverie of Poor Susan), 187 

Sympson, Mary (" comely matron " : 
Excursion, vii.), 858 (77) 

Sympson, Joseph ("priest arrived": 
Excursion, vii.), 858 (63) 

Swan Inn (" the famous Swan " : Wag- 
goner), 174 (88) 

Taylor, William (The Tables Turned), 
481 (1); (The Fountain), 487 (4); 

(Expostulation and Reply), 481 (15) ; 
(Matthew), 486 (15); (v. Address), 
577 (4) ; (" honoured teacher " : 
Prelude, x.), 726 (534) 

Thirlmere ? (" silent lake" : Waggoner), 
178 (31) 

Thompson Holme ("musical with 
birds " : Prelude, ii.), 643 (58) 

Threlkeld Hall (Waggoner), 180 (43) 

Threlkeld, Sir Lancelot (S. at 
Brougham Castle), 204 (62) 

Tillbrook, Rev. S. (" O friend " : viii. 
Miscell. Sonnets), 252 

"Timothy" (The Childless Father), 
119 (1) 

Tongue Ghyll Beck ("a brook" 
Excursion, vi. ), 849 (735) 

Tyson, Ann ("My frugal Dame": 
Nutting), 185 (11); (cottage of : Pre- 
lude, ii.), 647 (339) ; (" old Dame " : 
Prelude, iv.), 658 (28); ("grey- 
haired Dame " : Prelude, iv.), 661 


Ullswater ("lake": xii. Poems of 
Imagination), 187 (5); (Lyulph's 
Tower : The Somnambulist), 478 (1) 

Ulpha ("kirk of": xxxi. River 
Duddon), 383 

Ulverston Sands ("sea-side": Pre- 
lude, v.), 666 (58); ("those open 
sands " : Prelude, x.), 726 (579) 

Vandeput, Sir George ("the other" : 
Excursion), 844 (427) 


Walker, Rev. R. (" Gospel Teacher " : 
xviii. River Duddon), 380; ("priest": 
Excursion, vii.), 862 (316); ("Won- 
derful " : Excursion, vii.), 862 (344) 

Walney Isle (River Duddon), 375 

" Walter " (Idle Shepherd Boys), 85 

" Wanderer " (James Patrick, Kendal 
pedlar : Excursion, i. ), 756 (33) 

Wansfell (xx. Miscell. Sonnets), 255 ; 
(xlii. Miscell. Sonnets), 281 

Wetherlam ? (" solid mountains " : Pre- 
lude, iv.), 663(327) ; ("huge peak " : 
Prelude, i.), 637 (378); ("yon 
hill " : Excursion, vii. ), 862 (348) 

Wilkinson, Thomas (To the Spade of a 
Friend), 489 (1) 

Winander ( " peeps " : An Evening Walk), 
591 (13); ("eastern shore of": 
Prelude, ii.), 644 (138); ("spacious 
breast": Prelude, iv.), 664 (373); 

(" islands of " : 
(365); ("gay' 
Continent), 344 

Prelude, v.), 671 
xxvii. Tour on 



Windermere (The Widow on Winder- 
mere Side), 138; ("banks of": 
Waggoner), 179 (121); (There was 
a Boy), 183 (2); ("plain of": 
Prelude, ii.), 643 (56); ("shadowy 
lake": Prelude, ii.), 644 (166); 
("bed of": Prelude, iv.), 658 (5); 
("long lake ": Prelude, iv.), 661 
(181); ("crystal mere": Excur- 
sion, v. ), 823 (82) ; (" spacious " : 
Excursion, ix. ), 891 (485) ; Belle Isle 
("large island": Prelude, ii.), 644 
(146) ; Ferry Nab (" jutting pier " : 
Prelude, iv.), 658 (15) ; Lily Holme 
("holms": An Evening Walk), 595 
(221); Orrest Head (xlv. Miscell. 
Sonnets), 282 

Wordsworth, Ann ("mother": xxii. 
Eccles. Sonnets), 445; ("my 
mother": Prelude, ii.), 646 (268); 
(" my honoured mother " : Prelude, 
v.), 669 (257) 

Wordsworth, Catherine ("a child": 
Characteristics of a Child), 80 ; 


xxvii. Miscell. Sonnets), 

Christopher ("three 

Prelude, xii.), 738 (307); 

: xl. Miscell. Sonnets), 

281 ; (Dedication, River Duddon), 375 

Wordsworth, Dora (The Longest Day), 
90; (The Contrast), 165 (41); ("In- 
fant " : Kitten and Falling Leaves), 

170 (1); (To : The Haunted 

Tree), 219 ; (" Lovely Wanderer " : 
The Haunted Tree), 220 (34); 
("youngest": The Triad), 221 (90) 

Wordsworth, Dorothy ("To a young 
Lady": An Evening Walk), 591; 
("Emmeline": The Sparrow' 's Nest"), 
79 (9); ("Emmeline": To a Butter- 
fly), 79 (12); ("Sister's flowers": 
To a Butterfly), 106(11) ; ("Emma": 
xiii. Poems of Affection), 110; ( " long 
had lain " : The Redbreast), 144 
(31); ("friends": iv. Naming of 
Places), 148 (6); ("She who 
dwells " : iii. Naming of Places), 148 
(14) ; (" my dearest friend " : Lines), 
207 (115) ; (" dear sister " : Lines), 
207 (121); ("Dear Child": To a 
Young Lady), 218; ("chief of 

Friends": To Dedication), 250 

( 10) ; ("Emma " : vi. Miscell. Sonnets), 
251 ; (" She " : iii. Miscell. Sonnets), 
270 ; (" dear sister " : Thoughts), 
285 (7); ("maiden": iv. Tour on 
Continent), 334 (36); ("the one-": 
xxv. River Duddon, 382 ; (To my 
Sister), 482 (9) ; (Bleak Season was 
it), 622; ("only daughter": 
Nature's Invitation), 622 (9) ; (Among 

all lovely), 622 (1) ("sole Sister": 
Prelude, vi.), 678 (199) ; (" Sister " : 
Prelude, xi), 732 (335); ("Sister of 
my soul" : Prelude, xiv.), 749 (232) ; 
Tour on Continent), 333 ; poema by 
(Address to a Child), 80; (The 
Mother's Return), 81 ; (The Cottager 
and her Infant), 117 ; Loving and 
Liking), 142 

Wordsworth, John, father of W. W., 
house of, at Cockermouth (The 
Sparrow's Nest), 79 (8): (vi. Itin. 
Poems), 1 ; (Prelude, xii.), 738 (287) 

Wordsworth, John, brother (Leonard 
drawn from : The Brothers), 95 
(47); ("cherished visitant": vi. 
Naming of Places), 150 (55) ; 
("happy Warrior": Character of 
Happy Warrior), 493 (1); ("my 
brother " : To the Daisy), 579 (5) ; 
("brother": Elegiac Verses), 580 
(7); ("he died": Prelude, xii. 
738 (307) 

Wordsworth John, son ("Pastor": 
ix. Itin. Poems), 465 (1) 

Wordsworth, Johnnie ("a child": 
Address to a Child), 80; {Fly 
some kind Harbinger), 294 (9) 

Wordsworth, Mary ("no such perfect 
thing " : xv. Poems of Affection), 111 ; 
("that sigh of thine " : xix. Poems 
of Affection), 112; ("Love": 
vii. Miscell. Sonnets), 252 ; (Fly 
some kind Harbinger), 294 (10); 
(The White Doe of Rylstone), 395 (2) ; 
(Tour on Continent), 333 

Wordsworth, Richard ("three 

brothers " : Prelude, xii.), 738 (308) 

Wordsworth, William (a bard " : xiii. 
Evening Vol.), 460 (6); (Expostula- 
tion and Reply), 481 (1); (i. In- 
scriptions), 546 (4); or Coleridge, 
S. T. ? (" One " : Stanzas), 107 (1) 

Workington (x. Itin. Poems), 465 

Wray Ghyll Force (" white torrent " : 
Excursion, vi. ), 846 (525) 

Wry nose : (Excursion), 776 (325) ; 
(source of River Duddon : River 
Duddon), 375 

Wytheburn ("house of prayer": 
Waggoner, ii. ), 176 (1); Cherry Tree 
Inn (Waggoner, ii. ), 176 (22) 

Yewdale (" cultured Vale " : Prelude, 
i.), 637 (326) ; (" depths" : Epistle), 
525 (225) 

Yewdale, Betty ("wedded pair": 
Excursion, v.), 833 (692) 

Yewdale, Jonathan (" wedded pair " : 
Excursion), 833 (692) 



Address to the Scholars of a Village 
School, 115, 123, 127, 130-134, 
Alfred, King, 23 
Alice Fell, 284 

Ancient Mariner, The, 184-186, 333 
Anderson, Robert, 211 
Angles, the, in Cumbria. 4, 5, 6 
Arnold, Matthew, 309, 323, 334 
Arthurian traditions in Penrith, 4 
Audoux, Marguerite, 237 

Bacon, Francis, 326 
Baines, the Rev. T. H., 73 
Balliol, King of Scotland, 55 
Beattie's Minstrel, 181 
Beggar Boy, The, 259, 284 
Beggar Woman, The, 259, 284 
Berkeley, 50 
Birkett, Dame, 38, 39 
Borderers, The, 23, 183 
Braithwaite, George, 78, 79, 139 

Reginald, 132, 133 

Richard, 210 

the Rev. William, 93 

Brothers, The, 284, 322 
Brougham Castle, 49, 54-60 
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 

quoted, 252 

Robert, 244 

Burns, Robert, 148, 283, 284 
Butterfly, To a, 329 

Calm is all Nature, 110, 113 
Calvert, Raisley, 176, 179, 321 

William, 171-172, 173, 174, 

176, 179 

Captivity of Mary, Queen of Scots, 22 
Celts, Hiberno -Celts, and Cambro- 

Celts, 2 
Channing, Dr., quoted, 324-325 
Chaucer, 137 

Christian, Fletcher, 37, 319 
Christianity in Cumbria, 3, 6 
Churches in Lakeland, 207-208 
Claife Inclosure Act, the, 93 
Clark, Ewan, 210 
Clifford, Lady Anne (Countess of 

Dorset), 58, 59 

Henry, Lord, 48, 52, 56, 57 

Robert, Lord, 55 

Cocker, the River, 19 
Cockermouth, 19-37, 64, 217, 314 

Castle, 19, 48, 64 

Cock-fighting in the Dales, 53, 203 
Coleridge, S. T., 31, 72, 92, 109, 113, 

155, 183-187, 215, 221, 240, 241, 
269-273, 288, 291, 296, 301, 324, 
329, 330, 332, 333 


Coleridge, Sara, 269, 330 

Composed upon an Evening of Extra- 
ordinary Splendour, 309 

Cookson, William, Wordsworth's 
grandfather, 5, 14-17, 38, 53 

Dorothy, Wordsworth's 

grandmother, 38, 53, 54 

William, grandfather of the 

above, 14 

Cottle, Joseph, 183 

Countess Pillar, The, 59 

" Court Leet and View of Frank- 

pledge," the, 15 
" Court of Pie-powdre," the, 15 
Crackanthorpe Family, the, 16 
Cuckoo, The, 275 
Cumberland, George, Earl of, 58 
Cur wen, Sir Henry, 20 
" Curwen's Island," 93, 320 
Cuthbert, Saint, 22, 23 

Dalesmen, the, 188-215, 218, 279 

Danes, the, in Cumbria, 5, 6, 35 
Danish Boy, The, 35, 61, 311, 336- 

Dear Native Regions, 109 
De Quincey quoted, 329 
Derwent, the River, 19, 64 
Descriptive Sketches, 46, 113, 146, 

De Vere, Aubrey, 170 
Dixon, Professor, 339 
Dodgson, Dr., 32 
Dove Cottage, 187, 322, 329 
Dowden, Professor, 339 
Duddon Sonnets, the, 309-314, 335- 


Ecclesiastical Sonnets, 23, 203 
Egremont Castle, 20 
Emerson, quoted, 70 
Emigrant Mother, The, 275 
Even as a Dragon's Eye, 331 
Evening Voluntaries, 33, 35 
Evening Walk, An, 74, 85, 92, 114, 

138, 146, 157-170, 171, 173, 295, 

309, 321 
Excursion, The, 116, 127, 128, 243, 

246, 250, 255, 266, 289, 291-294, 

296-301, 314, 324, 332-335 
Expostulation and Reply, 130 

Farewell, The, 329 

Farish, Charles, 74-85, 321 

Feast of Brougham Castle, The, 57 

Female Vagrant, The, 295 

Fenwick, Miss, 338 

Fichte, 50 


Finch, Anne, afterwards Countess 
of Winchilsea, 110-112, 113 

Fletcher, William, 21 

Fountain, The, 115, 121, 127, 128, 
129, 132, 133 

Fox-hunting on the Fells, 203 

Gibson, A. Craig, 322, 334 

George, 67, 68 

Gillbanks, Joseph, 24, 27, 38, 98 

Grammar Schools, 204-205 

Grasmere, 173, 218, 324, 331, 333 

Gray, Thomas, quoted, 96, 191 

Green Linnet, The, 329 

Orettir Saga, the, 201 

Guide to the Lakes, the, 85, 219-234, 
252, 309, 324 

Guilt and Sorrow, 85, 171, 294, 295 

Happy Warrior, The, 105, 336 

Hardy, Thomas, 244, 245 

Hart-Leap Well, 338 

Hart's Horn Tree, 55 

Hawkshead, 62-69, 102, 139, 218 

Grammar School, 66-69, 102- 


Hawthorne, Nathaniel, quoted, 22 

Hazlitt, William, quoted, 334 

Hemans, Mrs., 59 

Her Eyes are Wild, 295 

Highland Girl, The, 153 

Horn of Egremont Castle, The, 20 

Hutchinson, John, 154-155 

Mary (afterwards Words- 
worth's wife), 1, 39, 42, 43, 44, 
146, 155-156, 265, 266, 271, 272, 
277, 278, 329, 330, 331 

Sarah, 63, 268, 330 

Idle Shepherd Boys, The, 284 
Industries of the Dalesfolk, 193 
Inglewood Forest, 1-8, 49, 318 
Inscription for St. Herbert's Isle, 23 
In Sight of the Town of Cockermouth, 


Intimations of Immortality, 89, 105, 
144, 269 

Italian Itinerant and the Swiss Goat- 
herd, The, 338 

Itinerary of Words worthshire, 318 

Joanna, To, 324 

Jones, Paul, 36, 37 

William, 171 

Kendal, 218 
Kinmont Willie, 50 
Kittenandthe Falling Leaves, The, 329 
Knight, Professor, 32, 42, 90, 97, 

101, 102, 142, 157, 338-339 
" Lake School of Poetry," the, 287 
Lamb, Charles, 140, 249 
Lament of Mary, Queen of Scots, 22 
Langdale Valley, 333 
" Latings," 204 
Leoky, W. E. H., quoted, 313 
Leech Gatherer, The, 276 

Lines Composed by the Side of Gras- 
mere Lake in 1807, 290 

Lines On a High Part of the Coast 
of Cumberland, 33 

Lines Suggested by a View from an 
Eminence in Inglewood Forest, 45 

Lines Written in Very Early Youth, 
110, 113 

Lines Written in Early Spring, 273 

Lines Written in " The Castle of 
Indolence," 329 

Lonsdale, Lord, 277, 302, 303, 323 

Lowell, James Russell, 296 

Lowther, Sir James, 12, 17, 18 

Lucock, Joshua, 18 

Lucy Gray, or Solitude, 150-151 
^Lucy Poems, the, 149-153, 187 

Lyrical Ballads, 184, 186, 295, 309, 

Lytton, Lord, 60 

Macmillan, Daniel, 332 

Margaret, 295, 296 

Mary, Queen of Scots, 20-22 

Mary, Queen of Scots, landing at the 
Mouth of the Derwent, 22 

Mason, William {The English Gar- 
den), 172 

Matthew Poems, the, 115-134, 187, 
284, 338 

Michael, 255, 282, 283, 28*, j ig? 

Micklebrows and The Prelude, 32, 
33 319 

Milton, John, 135-136, 169, 250, 
289, 291 

Minstrels of Winandermere, The, 73- 
85, 321 

Moore, John, 129-130 

Moresby Hall, 35, 319 

Morley, Lord, quoted, 323 

Naming of Places, The, 33 
Napoleon Buonaparte, Sonnets on, 

Nature and Man, 326 
Nature, Wordsworth on Poetical 

Images of, 110-111 
" Need-fire," 208-209 
Nicholson, Thomas, 40 
Nicolson, Bishop, quoted, 280 
Nocturnal Reverie, Lady Winchil- 

sea's, 110-112, 113 
Norman Kings and Roman military 

dispositions, 7, 8 
Northumberland, the Earl of, 21 
Nut Brown Maid, The, 67 

Old Cumberland Beggar, The, 183,285 
On the Cam, 138 

Parker murder, the, 40-44 
Patrick, James, 127-128 
Pedlar, The, 274, 296 
Peele Castle, 105, 320 
Peill, Mrs. Ann, the Cockermouth 
midwife, 25 



Penrith, 2, 4, 8, 9-18, 64, 217 

Penrith Beacon, 8; "set blazing 
for the last time," 12 ; the 
sentinel of the forest, 38-52 ; 108, 
156, 300, 314, 318-319 

Personal Talk, 329 

Pet Lamb, The, 284 

Place-names in Wordsworthshire, 
1-6, 19 

Poet's Epitaph, A, 338 

Poole, Thomas, 282 

Pope, Alexander, 107, 109, 110, 111 

Power of Sound, The, 114, 290, 291 

Prelude, The, 32, 41, 45, 60-61, 67, 
74, 86-88, 92, 97, 102, 103, 104, 
105, 115, 116, 139, 141, 142, 143, 
145, 148, 171, 176, 187, 220, 236, 
237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 245, 247, 
250, 255, 286, 287, 296, 313 

Primrose of the Rock, The, 219 

Radcliffe, Mrs., 318 

Raincock, William, 68 

Raleigh, Professor, 339 

Rather Heath, 191, 323 

Rawnsley, Canon, 102, 312, 339 

Relph, Josiah, 210 

Resolution and Independence,284:,2&5 

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, quoted, 70 

Richardson, Lady, quoted, 328 

Robin and the Butterfly, The, 266, 329 

Robinson, Henry Crabb, 262, 281, 331 

" Jack," 13, 17 

Romans, the, at Penrith, 2, 3 ; 
their military dispositions used 
by the Normans, 7, 8 ; the camp 
of Arbeia, 34 

Rossetti, Christina, quoted, 252 

Rousseau, 50 

Ruined Cottage, The, 272 

Ruskin, John, 72, 326 

Ruth, 295 

Rydal Mount, 303, 331-332 

Sailor's Mother, The, 284 
St. Dunstan's Hunt's Up, 202 
Sandys, Edwin, Archbishop of 

York, 65 

Colonel, 68 

Scott, Sir Walter, 4, 43, 49, 153, 

190, 202, 268, 326 
Seathwaite Chapel (one of the 

Duddon sonnets), 207 
Serfs and Freemen in Inglewood, 6 
Shakespeare, 326 

She was a Phantom of Delight, 154 
Sidney, Sir Philip, 289 
Smith, Alexander, 324 
Song at the Feast of Brougham 

Castle, 47 
Southey, Robert, 186, 288, 330, 334 
Spenser, Edmund, 137 
Stagg, John, 211 
Superstitions in Lakeland, 208-210 

Tables Turned, The 130, 338 

Tales from Chaucer, 272 

Taylor, the Rev. William, 107-109, 

115, 117, 118, 126, 130, 131 
Tenements in Cumberland and 

Westmorland, 191 
Thelwall, John, 184 
There was a Boy, 67, 68 
Thomson, Prof. Arthur, 241 

James, 135 

Thoreau, quoted, 280 

Three Cottage Girls, The, 153 
Threlkeld, Sir Lancelot, 56 

the valley of, 50-52 

Tickell, Thomas, 135 

Tintern Abbey, 105, 169, 170, 285 

Tolstoy, 244, 333, 334 

Traherne, Thomas, 90, 326 

Tutin, J. R., 339 

Two April Mornings, The, 115, 118, 

123, 127, 128, 129 
Two Thieves, The, 140 
Tyson, Dame Anne, 102, 103, 139 

Vatjghan, Henry (the Silurist), 328 
Vickars, John, 67, 68 

Waggoner, The, 300, 332 

Walker, the Rev. Robert, 205-207 

Warner, Richard, 324 

Waterloo, 336 

Watson, George (author of The 

Wordsworth-Hutchinsons), 14 
Waugh, Edwin, quoted, 212-214 
Where Lies the Land ? 106 
White Doe of Rylstone, The, 57, 211 
Whitehaven, 34-36 
Whitman, Walt, 249 
Wilson, John, 213-214, 325 
Winchilsea, Lady, see Finch, Anne 
Wordsworth, Ann (Ann Cookson), 

16, 17, 18, 26, 27, 28, 62, 63 

Christopher, 25, 26, 63, 91, 

101, 138, 310, 314, 331 

Dorothy, 17; 18, 26; her 

brother's companion, 28 ; her 
influence upon Wordsworth, 29, 
239, 240, 249; 33 ; first sight of 
Whitehaven, 34 ; her sensibility, 
37 ; 42, 44 ; Dorothy and her 
grandmother, 53 ; and her mother, 
63 ; 72 ; letter to Miss Pollard, 100 ; 
letters describing her relatives, 
101 ; the Scottish Tour, 103, 141, 
147 ; a comparison of Christopher 
and William, 138 ; 146, 147, 148 ; 
description of two Highland girls, 
152 ; on Descriptive Sketches, 
171; dreams of a Parsonage, 
172 ; letters regarding Windy 
Brow, 173-176 ; her love 
for her brother, 180-181 ; 183, 
184, 186, 187 ; poetical sense, 
251, 286 ; observation of Nature, 



252-256, 285 ; humanity, 256- 
263 ; descriptions of landscape, 
263-267 ; domesticities, 267- 
278 ; and the Dalesfolk, 279 ; the 
Alfoxden diary quoted, 285 ; 
letter to Wordsworth, 304-308 ; 
Wordsworth's tribute in the 
25th Duddon Sonnet, 312 ; letters 
to Mrs. Clarkson, 329 ; letter to 
Mrs. Marshall, 331 
Wordsworth, Gordon, 13, 14, 40, 
43, 44, 97 

John (the poet's father), 17, 

18, 24, 25, 26, 38, 39, 97-100 

John (brother of the poet), 26, 

27, 101, 106, 281, 325 

John (the poet's son), 34 

Richard, 12-14, 53 

Richard (the poet's brother), 


William, the grandson of a 

mercer, 16; 22; baptism, 26; 
schooldays at the Grammar 
School, 27 ; at Sunday-school, 
27, 28 ; temper and early habits, 
28 ; the poet in the making, 29 ; 
the joy of the child, 30 ; the 
rainbow, 30 ; Micklebrows, 32 ; 
at Dame Birkett's school, 38 ; 
headstrong moods, 39 ; first as- 
sociation with Penrith Beacon, 
39 ; the Parker murder, 40 ; 
" the blessed hours of early love," 
42 ; Wordsworth's devotion to 
Nature, 44 ; compared with 
Rousseau, Berkeley, and Fichte, 
50 ; neither Norman nor Saxon, 
but a Dane, 60 ; Hawkshead, 64 ; 
at the Grammar School, 66 ; 
effect of natural beauties upon 
the poet's mind, 70, 326-328 ; 
" Wordsworthian " thinking, 72- 
85 ; letter to Seymour Tremen- 
herne, 84 ; early reading, 86 ; 
literature compared with nature 
and religion in the Prelude, 87- 
88; three phases of Wordsworth's 
development, 90-92 ; compared 
with Traherne, 90 ; conversa- 
tions with William Braithwaite, 
the " Recluse," 92 ; a holiday at 
home, 97 ; death of his father, 
97 ; his relatives, 101 ; the poet's 
first home, 102 ; Wordsworth an 
inland poet, 105 ; earliest verses, 
107 ; Dear Native Regions, 109 ; 
influence of Lady Winchilsea's 

poetry, 110 ; essays in landscape, 
113, 321 ; the Matthew Poems, 
115 ; compared with Milton, 135- 
136 ; university life and vaca- 
tions, 136 ; compared by 
Dorothy with his brother Chris- 
topher, 138 ; religious experience, 
141 ; Wordsworth's study of 
Man, 144 ; his love for Doro- 
thy, 147 ; the Lucy Poems, 149- 
153 ; first rendering of Lakeland 
scenery, 157-170 ; definition of 
Poesy, 169 ; Aubrey de Vere's 
reminiscence, 170 ; walking-tour 
through France and Switzerland, 
171 ; prospects of a career, 171 ; 
dreams of a simple life, 172 ; at 
Windy Brow, 173 ; legacy from 
Raisley Calvert, 179 ; friendship 
with Coleridge, 183-184; settle- 
ment at Dove Cottage, 187, 322, 
329 ; unappreciated by Dales- 
men, 190, 279 ; influence of 
"Dale talk," 212-215, 282, 297; 
" Patience, the dearest secret of 
Humanity," 218-219 ; as in- 
terpreter, 236-248, 286, 326 ; 
dictation, 249 ; debt to Dorothy, 
250 ; conversations with way- 
farers, 255 ; loneliness, 281 ; 
letter to Sir G. Beaumont, 282, 
322 ; the characters of his poems, 
282 ; the influence of Grasmere, 
285 ; the " Lake School," 287 ; 
poems on Liberty, 289 ; use of 
classic lore, 290 ; Prelude and 
Excursion compared, 290-294 ; 
Wordsworth and war, 294, 336 ; 
as " historian," 297-300 ; re- 
moval to Allan Bank, 300, 333 ; 
removal to Rydal Mount, 303, 
331 ; politics, 302, 308 ; letters 
to Lord Lonsdale, 303, 323 ; 
tribute to Dorothy, 312 ; the 
Duddon Sonnets, 309-314 ; letter 
to Charles James Fox, 322 ; 
aloofness, 323 ; letter to Prince 
Leopold, 331 
Words worthshire, its boundaries 

and divisions, 216-235 
Wrestling among the Dalesmen, 201 
Written with a Slate Pencil upon a 
Stone, 232 

Yarrow Revisited, 45 
Yewdale (YoudeU), Betty, 334 
Yew Tree Seat, The, 89, 92-95, 116 
Young, Arthur, quoted, 95-96 

Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson &» Co. 
Edinburgh &* London 

Zl 4 

BINDING S JAN 1 5 1971 

PR Robertson, Kric Sutherland 

588/+ Wordsworthshire